By Moses Muruli

MASINDI: Drug shop operators from Masindi district have decried what they have termed as over taxation by the government that they say is crippling their businesses.

The operators voiced their concern during a meeting with officials from the National Drug Authority (NDA) on voluntary compliance with the licensing requirements and operation for human and animal drug shops.

During the meeting held at the district headquarters on Wednesday, the operators cited the annual licensing fees they pay to NDA, taxes they pay to Masindi district and Masindi municipality plus the URA taxes that they say are high on top of the collectors being high handed in collecting them.

They claimed that their colleagues in Wakiso went to court challenging the tax charged by the local government and court ruled in their favor but Masindi district is still collecting the tax from them.       

Responding to operators’ concerns, Goodman Farouk, the district councilor for Nyangahya division who claimed he was representing the district chairperson said the district cannot abolish the tax since the clinics and drug shops are among   the stipulated revenue sources for the local governments. Goodman, who is also the chairperson social services committee of the district council however noted that since the operators are offering a service he advised them to engage the concerned offices so that the tax can be reduced but not abolishing it.

Steven Kabalimu, NDA drug inspector in charge Hoima regional office said that NDA has no mandate to stop the tax being levied by local governments on the drug shop operators in the country but advised them to petition their body so that it can engage the responsible government agencies with the aim of scrapping it.

At the end of the meeting, the drug shop operators selected a five member committee that will engage the district leadership on the tax.

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