Female Opposition MPs Want Tax on Diapers Abolished

Female Opposition MPs Want Tax on Diapers Abolished

A group of female opposition Members of Parliament has called on the government to revoke the tax on diapers, which was recently approved by the House as part of the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2023. Despite appeals from the government to exempt tax on adult diapers for the benefit of citizens of advanced age and those with medical conditions, legislators rejected the proposal and passed the VAT Bill. 

Female opposition MPs, led by Joyce Bagala Ntwatwa, the Mityana District Woman representative, spoke out against the new law at a press conference held at Parliament on Wednesday. Bagala argued that the tax on diapers was unnecessary and would burden vulnerable mothers and citizens of advanced age who are already facing significant challenges due to terminal illnesses. 

Brenda Nabukenya, the Luwero District Woman Member of Parliament and Shadow Minister for Education and Sports expressed her disappointment with the government's decision and called on them to focus on fighting corruption, which costs the country over 10 trillion Shillings annually, instead of imposing additional taxes on the most vulnerable populations. 

Christine Nakimwero Kaaya, the Kiboga District Woman Representative and Shadow Minister for Water and Environment emphasized that reducing taxes on diapers would empower women by allowing them to save time on unpaid domestic work and engage more in income-generating activities to eradicate poverty.

The Minister of State for Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, Amos Lugoloobi, defended the VAT payable on diapers, stating that it would generate an annual revenue of 2.6 billion Shillings to boost the national budget. It is important to note that Uganda is facing significant fiscal deficits as non-concessional funds from development partners continue to decline. 

Donors are now allocating more resources to support emerging global health threats and natural catastrophes. In addition to the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2023, lawmakers have also introduced a tax on non-resident producers of electronic services such as e-Bay, Amazon, Ali Express, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, and Google, who offer services to non-taxable persons in Uganda.

In February, Parliament passed a budget of 49.98 trillion Shillings for the Financial Year 2023/2024 as proposed in the National Budget Framework Paper by the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development. The proposed budget will be financed through domestic revenue equivalent to 28.8 trillion, budget support of 2.4 trillion, domestic borrowing of Shs1.6 trillion, and external project support of Shs8 trillion. 

Other sources of funding include domestic refinancing of 8.7 trillion and local revenue for the local government of 238.5 billion.