Kaabong, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Kaabong district authorities have announced plans to tax artisanal miners in the district.
This follows several requests by the miners and residents requesting for improved service delivery. The miners want the district to construct water sources in the mining areas.
Albine Dwo, the district water officer says the district has inadequate resources with competing needs. He also reiterated that miners must first contribute to local revenue if they need services such as water supply. He described artisan miners as a ‘business community’ that should contribute or cost-share towards the water.
The LCV chairperson Kaabong, Mark Abuku says that currently, there is an on-going assessment on incomes of artisanal miners which will determine the amount of taxes they should pay.
According to information from some of the artisanal miners, they earn between 50,000 – 200,000 shillings daily from sale of gold. It’s sold to business people at the mines who reportedly buy each point at 19,000 shillings and each gram at 190,000 shillings.
There are two active mining sites in Kaabong. They include, Lopedo gold mining site in Lodiko and Nakapel mining site in Loyoro sub county both located close to the Kenyan border.
Lopedo has a population of about 1,900 – 2,500 people at Lopedo mining site, majority being residents of the area.
Jacob Loyete, the LCI chairperson says that most of the miners earn less than 10,000 shillings a day which they use to buy food. He says the plan to levy taxes on them is unfair.
“We get just enough for food here. There is little or nothing to save with loads of work we do here,” said Loyete in an interview.
Augustine Lokuta the chairperson of the Lopedo artisanal miners association also noted that they are still recovering from the effects of COVID-19 and still trying to organize themselves into an association to speak for their rights.