Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The government has slapped taxes on imported agricultural products.
In the 2020/21 budget, Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance said he seeks to promote import substitution and develop local industries.
He said the government has increased import duties on goods that are produced or can be produced locally. The import duty on agricultural products has been increased to 60 percent and other products to 35 percent.
There have been reports of restaurants importing irish potatoes, milk, and oranges instead of consuming those produced locally.
Kasaija said, “we have been importing refined industrial sugar yet we are a surplus producer of sugar.”
He added that the government has agreed with sugar manufacturers to produce refined industrial sugar locally and “we shall protect them from imports.”
To further support agriculture, Kasaija removed Value Added Tax (VAT) on the supply of agricultural equipment.
Also, the supply of processed milk will be VAT free to enhance the price competitiveness of milk produced in Uganda.
For the businesses that have been affected by a coronavirus, Kasaija put a whopping 1.4 trillion shillings in Uganda Development Bank. Companies in agriculture and manufacturing are expected to go to the institution and borrow at affordable rates to be able to recover from coronavirus disruption.
Meanwhile, Kasaija has reported an increment in the kilometres of roads paved to 5,600 kilometres, up from 4,300 kilometres in 2015.
However, the increment is just 500 kilometres from the 5,111 kilometres that the same minister reported in the previous budget as having been paved.
It should also be noted that it is lower than 6,000 kilometres that Kasaija pledged would be reached when he read the budget for the financial year the country is concluding.