By Jane Nambi
An HIV/AIDS tax is going to be introduced if government grants a request of certain members of parliament.
The MPs who are seeking to introduce the tax belong to the HIV/AIDS committee. They put forward the proposition yesterday during a parliamentary seating saying just like a Road Fund where a tax is imposed on fuel, there should also be an HIV/AIDS Trust Fund whose money would come from taxes imposed on airtime, beer, hotels, weddings or prostitutes.
“With what is happening in Uganda, we should not take chances. Donors can wake up one day and cut their aid. Can you imagine what would happen to the missions of Ugandans on ARV’s?” MP Medard Bitekyerenzo asked.
The chairperson of the committee, Sarah Kayagi went on to add saying without a personal fund, taking care of patients will become hard. “We are sitting on a time bomb. The government must start thinking ahead and acting fast,” she said.
The MPs however failed to come up with where the tax should be levied. MP Frida Mubanda proposed that tax should be levied at the entry points. “They are so many people who use Entebbe Airport. Let everyone who enters the country pay a certain tax,” she said. Naome Kabasharia proposed one should be levied on airtime or beer. “We have to identify areas to tax. Lets put the tax on airtime or beer,” she said.
Failure to agree on what to tax, the committee agreed to set up a team to study the different areas where the levy is applicable and report back. Countries like Botswana, Zimbabwe, Thailand, Kenya and Ghana have the same fund and the MPs agreed to visit those countries to see how it works.