BY IVAN TSEBENI
The Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, has promised to meet and engage President Yoweri Museveni on the issue of exempting private universities from paying taxes.
Speaking to the guild officials of Uganda Christian University (UCU) who paid her a courtesy visit at her offices on January 27, Speaker Kadaga told the student leaders that she would remind the President about tax exemption for the private universities in their next meeting.
“University education is very expensive in Uganda and I keep receiving letters from needy students seeking financial support for education,” she said. “I will remind the President.”
In most of his public speeches, the UCU Vice-Chancellor, Dr John Senyonyi, advocates for the scrapping of the taxes, arguing that they make higher education inaccessible to the poor.
This tax regime in Uganda contradicts the Sustainable Development Goal 4, which calls upon countries to ensure equal access to inclusive and equitable education and learning.
The goal says, “Education should be free and compulsory, leaving no one behind irrespective of their gender, disabilities, social and economic situation.”
Kadaga’s remarks followed a concern raised by the UCU Guild President, Mr Timothy Kadaga, to her that the high taxes on private universities were directly affecting students.
“These taxes force the academic institutions to increase their fees structures,” he said. “Please intervene and save us.”
The meeting was also attended by the Guild President of UCU Kampala Campus, Mark Agaba, who asked Kadaga to support students’ activities such as sports and innovations.
The Speaker promised to attend the UCU annual guild run slated for February 22.
The annual guild run will aim at raising funds to support needy students with tuition balances and installing security lights along Bishop Tucker Road to curb crime.
She also appealed to UCU students to participate in the run arguing that it’s for their own cause.