The head of Uganda’s Revenue Authority (URA), Ms Doris Akol, has denied a report that was first published by privately-owned newspaper Daily Monitor about a plan to tax Bibles and Korans, BBC reports.
The media outlet had reported that the Uganda leaders developed the plan after months of discussions between the tax authorities and religious organisations, the latter of whom remained opposed to the proposition.
Clerics across faith groups reacted to the proposal with consternation and disbelief, insisting the religious materials should be tax-exempt since they use them for “spiritual nourishment” of Ugandans.
The secretary-general of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, Ramathan Mugalu, told the Daily Monitor that the government has “gone too far”.
“How can you tax the word of God?” he asked.
The secretary-general of the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, Joshua Kitakule, was also unhappy about the decision.
“These items are not meant for profit; so, it is erroneous to tax them,” he told the newspaper.
However, Akol has revealed that the story was “fake news”.
— Arthur Mirama Agaba (@ArthurMirama) May 14, 2018
She made this in a reply to a Twitter user who was questioning the government’s alleged plan.
Fake news. The amendments are actually intended to exempt Bibles and Qur’ans. Ref. VAT Amendment Act 2018
— Doris Akol (@URA_CG) May 15, 2018
She said the new tax plan exempts the religious books.
Hon David Bahati has clarified on the article published in the @DailyMonitor alleging that govt has levied tax on bibles and Qurans. He says there will be no such tax as this would mean ‘standing in the way of spreading the word of God’ #PlenaryUg pic.twitter.com/tM55jqPGyw
— Parliament of Uganda (@Parliament_Ug) May 15, 2018
The Uganda parliament has also tweeted a reaction from Finance Minister David Bahati, he is quoted as saying, ” there will be no such tax as this would mean standing in the way of spreading the word of God”: