On 5th July 2014, panelists appeared on HITS FM to discuss the hiked taxes by government on local citizens. “Taxes are fees that the government collects from its citizens and their businesses to pay for expenses. The government needs taxes for support in implementing facilities like infrastructure, health, education, paying civil servants, among others”, said Businge John, a local citizen and teacher in Kasenda Sub County, Kabarole District. The local citizen was discussing on ToroDev’s supported live radio discussion called ‘Orukurato Program’, a two hour weekly program that discusses issues of accountability every Saturday (08:00 – 10:00)pm on HITS FM.The live radio discussion was also attended by Hon Richard Nyakaana, a councilor of Busoro Sub County in Kabarole District and Hon Prosper Businge, the district Councilor for West Division in Fort Portal Municipality, Kabarole District.
During the program, Hon Nyakaana indicated the advantages of paying taxes upon the local citizens. “Paying taxes creates a population that is responsible, hard working, and disciplined. Local citizens are also motivated to work hard so as to incur the costs of taxation. However, we still have challenges of making priorities as a state. Taxation increases government income, but its allocation is very poor. Funds are being allocated to noncore activities, and that’s why we see much funds being wasted without being accounted for”.
Meanwhile, Hon Businge Prosper also participated in the live radio discussion by indicating how Uganda has a challenge of poor policy implementation. “The biggest challenge of Uganda is the poor implementation of her policies. This has highly been caused by the wide spread corruption in the government. Over 500 billion is wasted in corruption, yet these funds are collected from the local citizens, which makes them even poorer”.
Local listeners also participated in the live radio discussion through call ins to raise their issues and concerns. “Government is exploiting local citizens by hiking taxes”, said Julius from Kagorogoro Sub County, “Where does the government expect us to get all that money to pay for taxes?” asked Fred from Ibanda District, “Government passes policies for its own interests and not people’s interests”, said David, “Why did the government hike taxes on consumption goods?” asked Mwesige Tadeo from Busoro Sub County in Kabarole District, “Funds collected from taxes are not helping Ugandans, but wasted in corruption”, said Kahuma from Rwengoma Sub County in Kabarole District.
The live radio discussion was moderated by Mr. Kasigazi Willy Donanto and is supported by SIDA/CIPESA and SPIDER/Stockholm University on a project aimed at using appropriate ICT tools to promote democratic engagement in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.