Rugyendo Arinaitwe, a Director of Uganda’s leading tabloid Red Pepper, says Members of Parliament are too poor and too desperate to lose some little money in income taxes.
MPs claim that they are already paying Shs3.5m as PAYE (Pay As You Earn) every month off their salary and subsistence allowance.
They say even the little they earn goes into constituency activities like organising funerals and weddings.
Speaking at the “Media Round Table” hosted by NBS television on Thursday, Rugyendo said the MPs need their little allowance to survive.
“Our MPs are very poor. They are holding onto this allowance to survive. The problem is that they have not explained their case well.”
He said civil society organisations will not win MP tax exemption debate because President Museveni is not the kind of person who is forced into action.
NTV Newsnight show host Charles Odongtho believes MPs are selfish, not because they have exempted themselves but because they are only exempting themselves.
“Our taxing system is unfair. Kenya’s GDP is larger than ours. Our MPs can’t expect to be paid as much as Kenyan MPs. That’s a wrong argument.”
Odongtho said MPs need to be more open about the debate and open it to how taxation system can be fairer to everyone else.
The legislators warned that if the president doesn’t assent to a bill exempting them from taxes, they will block the upcoming national budget.
State House then issued a warning saying if they block the budget, all legislators will be liable to treason charges.