The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Gen Kahinda Otafiire has called upon Ugandan to pay taxes. “If you want us to run government efficiently and render services, you have to pay taxes”.
He was responding to the public outcry over the new taxes; Over The Top (OTT) services, commonly known as social media tax, and mobile money tax. Many asked why Ugandans continue to pay taxes yet government has failed to provide quality services. There was a contention that despite paying taxes, Ugandans have limited benefits from funding their government, because of corruption.
The Minister was opening of the MUBS 23rd Annual International Management Conference which was held in Mbarara from September 11- 14, 2018 under the theme “Creating a Knowledge Society”.
Gen. Otafire asked the public to understand why government sometimes has to use force to get most of its work done. “ A government that is unable to force its citizens to do as it says, is not a government. Government is coercion, if you can not coerce people to do things the way you want, then you are not a government. Following government orders, may often come off as unpleasant, but the citizens have to do it for the government to keep running,” said the Minister.
“I don’t know how many people here will voluntarily pay taxes! Even I when they start saying ‘taxation,’ I will hide in my car. It is not pleasant to people”. Therefore, for some Ugandans who feel pressed by the 1% tax on Mobile Money transactions, I advise them to work harder to pay this tax.
This, is the nature of humanity,my message is therefore hard work. Work harder, pay more taxes so that we get more services, accumulate more wealth to so that it is distributed among people and create prosperity, this is what distinguishes us from animals.
When animals are challenged in nature they adapt, when it is cold they grow fur, when it is warm they lose fur. Mankind does not grow fur, he does not adapt to nature. Mankind solves the problem, ” he advised
The minister challenged most people who when faced with a problem, they resort to prayers instead of finding means to solve their problems. “The problem with Ugandans and most Africans is that when they are faced with problems, they resort to praying instead of working to solve them. Do not disturb God while blaming Him for your poverty because He gave us all the tools to make wealth to solve our problems. It is up to us to struggle”.
He appealed to Ugandans to be united and work hard to come out of poverty instead of blaming God.
“I am neither a pastor nor a reverend, but I can assure you the poor will never step in heaven. It is the poor who are ever complaining against God and when they appear before Him, they will complain why He denied them earthly possessions. It is very difficult to administer poor people. I urge you to work hard to alleviate poverty in your homes instead of attributing your fate to God.
Gen. Otafire urged institutions to invest in peace and human resources for economic development and congratulated MUBS for contributing to the national economy through research and knowledge creation.
He appealed to the congregation to be peaceful and concentrate on productive activities to promote economic transformation of the country.