KAMPALA — The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has on Tuesday June 21 said oxygen gas cylinders are exempted from all taxes as Uganda grapples with challenges of shortage of oxygen supplies for Covid-19 patients amid surging cases of the virus.
URA in a statement said the oxygen gas cylinders are considered an essential tool used in diagnosis, prevention, treatment and management of the Covid-19 pandemic following the amendment of East Africa n Community Customs Management Act.
According to URA the Legal Notice No. EAC/89/2020 dated June 30, 2020 amended the 5th schedule of the Act, Item 20, to cater for Covid-19 supplies.
“More specifically, item 20 Part B: General Exemptions, item ii-1 (e), of the 5th schedule that was redesigned to read as follows; “Any supplies for diagnosis, prevention, treatment and management of epidemics, pandemics and health hazards as recommended by the competent authority in the ministry responsible for health.”
Shortage of oxygen has been cited by hospitals as a major reason for the less-than-satisfactory services to critically-ill Covid patients, many of who die due to inadequate oxygen.
Officials said a Covid patient takes anywhere between 20 to 70 litres of oxygen per day, depending on whether the condition is mild, severe or critical, giving an average oxygen consumption of 45 litres per patient.
Uganda’s coronavirus second wave is rapidly sliding into a devastating crisis, with hospitals unbearably full, oxygen supplies running low and mounting evidence that the actual death toll is far higher than officially reported.
Each day, the government reports more than 1000 new infections with experts saying those numbers, however staggering, represent just a fraction of the real reach of the virus’s spread, which has thrown this country into emergency mode.