UGANDA. The six acts (amendment) signed in law by President Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Kaguta Museveni on June 29, 2023 have generated mixed reactions,especially the Value Added Tax Amendment Act 2023 which has now been linked to Uganda’s new war against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual (LGBTQIA+) on top of the anti-homosexuality act (AHA) 2023 signed by Museveni on 26 May 2023.
Signing of the Value Added Tax Amendment Act 2023 into law approves an 18% tax levy on all diapers, though the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) had asked Parliament to end the blanket VAT exemption on the ‘luxurious’ baby diapers whose users weren’t paying taxes, yet people using nappies are paying taxes. The Ministry wanted adult diapers exempted on medical grounds.
President Museveni has also signed other 5 acts into law; the lotteries and gaming (amendment) act 2023, the appropriation act, the traffic and road safety act – 1998 (amendment) (No. 2) act 2023, the convention on mutual administrative assistance in tax matters (implementation) act 2023 and the supplementary appropriation act 2023.
Most of the 557 Members of Parliament-MPs have voted to have an 18% levy imposed on all diapers after some MPs said that adult diapers are mostly used by homosexuals, and removing tax on adult diapers was going to benefit gays.
The government says Ugx2.6 billion would be raised in taxes from adult diapers, with the tax taking effect tomorrow 1st July 2023.
POLITICIZING LGBTQIA+ ISSUES IN UGANDA AND INCREASING THE SEXUAL MINORITIES’ PLIGHT: Agnes Kirabo, a female Youth Representative for Central Uganda on NRM ticket shocked the nation when she submitted during plenary that; “these adult diapers could be a result of homosexuals. If we do not tax them, we are going to promote homosexuality.”
Sexual minorities, human rights activists and Journalists advocating for LGBTQIA+ members’ safety, freedom and equality have continued to decry escalating threats and attacks across Uganda, in the wake of the anti-homosexuality act 2023. The AHA is now in force after being published in the Uganda Gazette on May 30, 2023 as Act of Parliament No. 6 of 2023.
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