By Jeff Andrew Lule
Musician Moses Ssali commonly known as Bebe Cool has welcomed the move by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to start taxing musicians, saying it is the only way the industry can grow to greater heights.
The Gagamel boss, noted that the government can only ensure that the artistes exist and plan for them if they also contribute something to the development of the country.
“My genuine opinion is that every citizen in every country needs to follow the rules and regulations of that country. They are not designed to oppress people but rather organize them so that the government plans for the people. The government cannot plan for you if it doesn’t know that you exist…,” he noted.
He explains that by staying away from getting an Identification Card and a Tax Identification Number (TIN), it becomes hard for the government to “plan for you because they can’t trace you”.
He said musicians do not have to fear, because they can always negotiate with URA.
“I have always told you that the government is the biggest spender and artists can always get tenders for various projects, but that can only be realized if one has a TIN. As an artist you can’t depend on shows because with time you get more responsibilities as you grow, which calls for doing business with the government and other people,” he noted.
“But to gain from this you must prove that you pay taxes or filing returns even if you file zero, what they want to know is that you are tax compliant. This has caused many to fail to get tenders and several deals from the government and other organizations because they have nothing to show, and the same deals end up being taken by the same businessmen who are tax compliant,” he said.
Ssali urged all musicians, and promoters not to shun away but register and get the TINs, saying it is for their benefit.
Micaheal Owor commonly known as DJ Bushbaby also commended URA to have entertainers get TINs but called on the authority to first educate and sensitize them rather than just giving directive.
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistic, the service sector where entertainment falls, contributes about sh49bn.