The drug shop operators says that several local government authorities such as sub county and division councils have already issued assessment forms for the taxes they have to pay to the councils as trading license which they says that its unfair since they already paid money to NDA to secure their operational licenses.
Several operators of drug shops in Masaka have raised concern over
the levying of trading license fees, a tax which was outlawed
by the court. The tax is being levied by Masaka city authorities.
During a sensitization meeting held at palm springs in Masaka
city on Friday, the drug shop owners
told National Drug Authority (NDA) officials that they are stuck with the
challenge of local government authorities where they operate from who are
insisting on collecting trading license fees from them.
The drug shop
operators says that several local government authorities such as sub county and
division councils have already issued assessment forms for the taxes they have
to pay to the councils as trading license which they say is unfair since
they already paid money to NDA to secure their operational licenses.
Hanifah Nakimera, the
operator of God’s Grace Drug shop in Kimanya Kabonera division in Masaka city
says that their drug shop has already been issued with an assessment form of
Shs. 77,300 which they have to pay to the council. She says this amount is too much compared to the size of her drug shop.
She says that the charges are not only unfair but also
un-necessary since they already paid money to NDA,another government body that
regulates their operations asking the NDA authorities to come to their rescue
or else they are likely to be kicked out of business because of unfair
Andrew Mwanje, another drug shop operator in Kasana in Nyendo
Mukunngwe division says that his drug shop Victory Drug Shop was a issued an assessment
of Shs.60,000 early this month and when he tried to complain he was threatened that
it could be increased because his counterparts were paying much higher fees
Mwanje says that they need to be exempted from such charges
because they pay other taxes including that charged on certifying of their
documents whenever they need to get practicing licenses and those of their drug
However, Muhammad Lukwago, the central Region NDA manager
told the drug shop operators that court outlawed those fees in 2020 when their
counterparts of Pharmaceutical society of Uganda won a case before Kampala high
court in which they challenged the Trade
Licensing Amendment Act 2017 when court ruled that the act of double license fee
collection is unfair, discriminatory oppressive and arbitrary.
He advised the drug shop owners to form an association that
will meet leaders of local councils and city authorities and inform them of
this court decision so that they can honor it and stop charging them trade
license fees since they already pay a similar fee to NDA in issuing them
Cue in:// “They have raised concern..
Cue out:// “..handled by right people.”//
Lukwago said that the
meeting was intended at informing the operators of drug shops about their role in
medicine value chain to ensure that there is access to good quality safe and
effective medicine to people in the country and get to know their challenges.
Cue in:// “the requirements..
Cue out:// “…used well.”//
However, Masaka city clerk, John Behangane when contacted,
said that he was not aware of any court ruling barring councils from collecting
the fees. “ I don’t have evidence about the said court ruling but it’s
ok let them come up with their complaint formerly to us with evidence," he added.
In his ruling Justice Musa Ssekaana in May 2020 ruled that
the inclusion of Pharmacies and drug stores among the areas of issuance of
trading licenses is illegal and contrary to the National Drug Policy and
Authority Act and it conflicts which specific legislation.
The court also ordered that applicants’ members are not supposed
to pay for trade license fees in respect of their pharmacies and drugs stores
pursuant to item 30 and 35 of part A of the trade licensing (Amendment of
schedule) instrument No.2 of 2017.