26 March 2013

Uganda Revenue Authority Closes Nakivubo Stadium Over U.S.$148,374 Debt

Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has taken over the Nakivubo war memorial stadium after management defaulted on sh388m in tax payments.

The debt has piled over a 5-year period after Value Added Tax (VAT) and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) amounts were not remitted to the tax body.

Officials indicated that Nakivubo management has issued 12 posted dated cheques since the year 2011, and that 10 cheques have bounced to date. Only two cheques worth sh10m were successful.

"We have constantly reminded management of the stadium to clear their tax dues for over a year now, but they have been stubborn," said Waiswa Abudu Sallam, URA's debt collection

"Since Nakivubo Stadium is a government entity we are not looking at selling the premises. If in the next five days no payment plan is agreed with management, we will put the stadium under receivership until all the tax dues are paid," he added.

The Stadium earns considerable revenues through hosting major national footballing events, social functions such as music shows, it acts as a private parking area during the day and it hosts over 12 retail shops.

Players and staff of Kampala Junior Team (KJT) trudged off the football pitch in the morning hours as court bailiffs and the police cordoned off the stadium.

KJT was slated to play Luwero United in a Kakugulu cup tie at the stadium, the tie hangs in balance until new payment plans are agreed with the URA.

The stadium was closed in May 2011 after it defaulted on tax payments worth sh317m accumulated between January 2004 and February 2009, the amounts have since grown to sh388m.

The tax body is due to auction over 99 buses belonging to the Pioneer Easy Bus Company and several other properties to close a sh115b annual tax collection deficit.

Nakivubo was shut down under similar circumstances on May 5, 2011, only to re-open after a week when payment plans were agreed with the URA.

Simon Dungu, a technical director with Kampala Junior team that trains on the pitch urged government to consider making sports non-taxable to promote the sector.

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