Gov’t to levy tax on fish maw export

Parliament has approved an eight per cent tax levy on fish maw exports following the passing of the Fish (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
In a report to the House during a plenary sitting on 03 May 2021, the Vice Chairperson of the committee on Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Hon Jane Avur Pacuto proposed a levy of shs70,000 per kilogramme of the fish maw.
She justified that the fish maw has been going for as low as 20 cents per kilogramme and yet selling so highly especially in South East Asian countries.
“This proposal will ensure value addition and more revenue for this industry although there is need to streamline and regulate the fish industry,” she said.

Pacuto said that government should undertake analytical studies on the value of the fish maw internationally with the view to increase the levy upwards.
“The committee recommends that government fast tracks the Fisheries Bill which is already before Parliament,” she added.
Lawmakers however, objected to the committee’s proposal and recommended an eight per cent levy on the fish maw exports saying that the percentage will address challenges posed by price fluctuations.

Hon. Robert Migadde Ndugwa (NRM, Buvuma Island County) argued that the fishing community pays several taxes and yet government does not give them incentives.
“If agricultural machinery is exempted from taxes, fishing inputs are part of machinery for agriculture like fishing nets and boat engines,” he said.
He also raised concern over the monopoly of fish maw exportation saying there is need for government to fast track the Fish Maw Protocol with China.

Lyemiyaga County MP, Hon. Theodore Ssekikubo proposed a 10 per cent levy on fish maw exports saying that it is very a lucrative business, yet restricted to a few.  
“It is the engine now in the fishing industry.  For purposes of getting more income, it is more reasonable to put a percentage as opposed to the shs70,000. We also need to protect the Nile Perch species,” he said.

Hon. Joseph Ssewungu (DP, Kalungu West) questioned the rationale applied to license fish maw traders, saying that monopoly of the trade affects the progress of the fishing industry.
“Under what circumstances is only one company licensed to trade in fish maw exportation,” he asked.

Pacuto later agreed with the proposal from the legislators to levy an eight percent tax fish maw exportation.
“It is better to go with percentage than figures because the fish maw are of different values and as prices fluctuate, this will not disturb tax collectors in administration,” she said.

The Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga asked the Ministry of Agriculture to address the concern raised by legislators on the monopoly of the fish maw export.