Members of Parliament on the committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) have disagreed with Kampala Capital City Authority on its call to amend the law exempting people residing in their properties within Kampala from paying property rates.
The MPs led by the chairperson, Hon. Abdu Katuntu (FDC, Bugweri County) were responding to a proposal by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) officials led by the Executive Director, Jennifer Musisi that Parliament should amend the KCCA Act (2006) on owner occupied exemption in Kampala in which people residing in their property within the city are exempted from property tax.
Musisi said that people staying in upscale neighbourhoods do not make any contribution yet they demand a lot from KCCA.
“We want the law on owner occupied exemption to be amended because we feel that all citizens should contribute to the improvement of the city,” said Ms. Musisi.
Musisi added, “Citizens staying in affluent areas are exempted yet they subject the Authority to heavy demands about maintaining their roads, street lights and are generating a lot of garbage; we want everyone to make a contribution.”
However in response, Katuntu said that the law applies to all of those occupying their property both in the upscale and low-scale neighborhoods.
“Regardless of whether you have property in Kololo or Bwaise, as long as you stay in it you are not required to pay property tax so it does not matter where you stay,” Katuntu said.
Katuntu further noted that most of the property in the upscale neighbourhoods like Kololo and Nakasero is being rented out or occupied by businesses and is therefore subject to property tax.
Katuntu also said that tax is supposed to be imposed in a regulated manner and should not be a punishment to citizens.
Musisi complained that it is hard to establish whether the property in the posh residential areas is being occupied by the owners or not. In response, Katuntu said that that was their job to establish that.
“The job you do is supposed to be challenging and that is why you are highly paid; if it was easy we would not have to go through the rigorous exercise of recruiting you as the best people,” Katuntu noted.