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MPs grill KCCA over failure to collect UGX34B ground rent

The acting KCCA Executive Director, Andrew Kitaka submitted the list of the defaulters to COSASE on Tuesday when he appeared to respond to the audit queries for financial year 2016/2017. (FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA – Legislators on Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) grilled officials from Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) on their failure to collect Shs34b in property and ground rent.

The Authority had appeared before the Committee to respond to audit queries raised in the 2016/2017 auditor general report in which the audit team highlighted that a number of big businesses and buildings with some housing government agencies had defaulted on their ground rent, leaving the authority with over Shs34b in uncollected taxes.

Committee member, Paul Mwiru explained; “They said Parliament paid there are some bodies like URC, NWSC and KCCA has asked for the agencies to be forgiven but the Authority has no powers to forgive because it is Parliament that established these taxes. All we are calling for is for the laws to be applied equally, government agencies shouldn’t be left off-hook.”

The Committee also castigated KCCA management for mishandling staff NSSF and Pay As You Earn remittances calling on the Authority to stop disenfranchising workers by failing to remit their savings arguing that the failure to remit the savings has denied employees interest that accrues to them when their savings remittances are not affected, with staff NSSF arrears hitting Shs36.4b.

Julius Kabugo, Acting Director Treasury Services told MPs that the arrears arose from funding constraints stating that the bulk of staff savings comes from non-tax revenue which accounts citing that of a total wage bill of Shs78bn Government only contributes Shs24bn.

Kabugo assured the Committee that after several new measures including cost cuts the issue if NSSF remittances has been resolved, but that assurance was rejected Semujju Nganda (Kira Municipality) asked KCCA to explain how much losses the Authority has caused government in penalties from NSSF.

Mwiru added; “I think the officials of KCCA have been leaving some people off the hook among these being government agencies which ends up affecting service delivery by the authority something we think contravenes the law. It is the reason the Authority failed to meet their NSSF obligations something they are treating as a game yet it hurts the welfare of the staff.  What we don’t want is the KCCA staff reaching retirement and heading to NSSF to pick their pension only to realize their money wasn’t remitted.”

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