Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda Revenue Authority-URA officials have stormed several gold mining sites in Kassanda district pursuing taxes from artisanal miners.
The team led by Jamil Senyonga, the manager in charge of tax literacy claims that the gold miners have consistently evaded taxes and left the burden to small income earners in other sectors despite collecting huge sums of money.
In 2017, the government evicted hundreds of artisanal gold miners from Kassanda on grounds that their activities were not only a security threat but they also evading taxes that would contribute to the development of the country.
However, the miners were later granted an exploration license number EL00059 on July 30th this year which will expire on July 29th, 2023 permitting them to resume their operations at Kagaba hill in Kitumbi Sub County.
Although he is not certain how much money the gold miners collect, Senyonga says their investigations show that the miners collect a lot of money.
He explained that it would be unfair to continue taxing low-income earners with a capital of Shillings 10 million and let gold miners who earn over Shillings 200 million to go scot-free.
Hajj Ziad Kalema, the Kassanda district LC5 chairperson has condemned URA for blocking people from mining in some areas yet the active mines are showing great signs of progress.
He wants URA to open the remaining mining areas for people to resume work as long as they pay taxes.
Ali Kyambadde, the manager Kisiita gold mines who also chairs the miners in Kassanda says following their resumption, they reported 40 kgs of gold between June and July this year.
He says that the miners are willing to pay taxes because they are tired of being referred to as illegal miners.
He however says instead of levying heavy taxes on local businessmen, exporters should pay the biggest portion of the taxes.