By Ahmad Muto
Former agriculture minister Victoria Sekitoleko has observed that musicians are a great source of taxes.
She challenged those responsible for tax mobilisation and collection in the country (Uganda Revenue Authority, URA) on why the youth and particularly musicians have been ignored for a long time despite all signs showing the industry is lucrative.
Sekitoleko said she was surprised that every meeting she has attended, nobody seems to want to say anything about the music in the country.
She made the remarks while speaking at the seventh Economic Growth Forum at the Kampala Serena Hotel on Thursday, August 24, 2023.
Sekitoleko, therefore, tipped URA that if it is taxes they are looking for, it is the musicians and not the submissions at high level meetings that will deliver them.
“If you are looking for taxes, it is musicians who can collect a lot of tax in just one day. But somehow when we talk, we come to these high-level meetings, we pretend they are not there, we don’t mention them, we don’t plan for them,” said Sekitoleko.
She noted that at singer Alien Skin’s Sitya Danger concert at Freedom City, on June 9, 2023, she saw people fighting to access the venue, an avenue for tax collection.
“Recently when there was this new singer Alien Skin at Freedom City, people were fighting to pay and every ticket brings tax, but nobody has ever thought of planning for those youths where they can perform,” she added.
Recall in December 2022, the body charged with tax collection, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) directed entertainers, promoters DJs, VJs bar, hotel and other recreational space owners that earn from the local entertainment sector to consider getting Tax Identification Numbers (TINs). The value added tax (VAT) for public entertainment like concerts was capped at 18%.
The Uganda Bureau of Statistics estimates showed that collectively the services sector where entertainment belongs contributed sh47.1 trillion to the economy, and suggested that the sector has the potential of a key revenue contributor.