Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | President Yoweri Museveni has directed the office of the Attorney General to use National Identification Numbers(NIN) instead of Tax Identification Numbers (TIN) for processing compensation of war debt claimants in Northern Uganda.
The finance ministry had tasked all claimants in Lango, Acholi and Teso sub-region to obtain Tax Identification Numbers as a mandatory requirement for processing their payment. The number is a ten-digit code issued by the Uganda Revenue Authority to prospective taxpayers to enable them to meet their tax obligations.
The government released 150 billion Shillings in September 2021 to compensate war debt claimants in Acholi, Lango and Teso, with each region entitled to 50 billion Shillings. The money will go to persons who lost their livestock and properties during insurgencies in the region.
While meeting the President at Alidi Primary School in Oyam district on Saturday, Judith Alyek, the chairperson of the Lango Parliamentary group said that Tax Identification Numbers, being one of the mandatory requirements is a major challenge affecting the compensation of war claimants.
Alyek added that thousands of claimants will miss out on the compensation because they were either not verified by the office of the Attorney General or they did not register their complaints.
President Museveni in response ordered the Attorney General to use National Identification Numbers instead of the Tax Identification Numbers saying most war claimants are illiterates who have neither a Tax Identification Number nor a bank account.
The president also confirmed that the government will compensate the 42,000 claimants who were verified as well as the 125,000 whose names were rejected during the verification processes. He added that considerations are being made to compensate those who lost cattle but did not go to court.
Lira District woman MP Linda Agnes Auma, said the introduction of Tax Identification Numbers was a deliberate effort to frustrate the compensation process, but hastened to add that since the burden has been removed, leaders will follow up on the declaration to ensure that everyone is paid.
In 2009, the Lango War Debt Claimants Association dragged the government of Uganda to court demanding compensation for the livestock they lost during insurgencies in the region, a case which ended with the High Court ordering the government to pay the claimants 2.9 trillion Shillings.