- Also asks National Council for Higher Education to speed up accreditation of UCU medical school
By Micheal Mubangizi
The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali has criticized the unfair tax regime for institutions of higher learning saying it is crippling the operations of not-for profit universities.
Speaking during the first part of Uganda Christian University’s 18th graduation ceremony on July 7, 2017, the Archbishop also asked government to provide tax waivers to non-profit making universities.
“Government cannot require high standards of these institutions while simultaneously paralyzing them through taxation”, said the Archbishop adding,
“We are not against a fair and developmental taxation regime, but we have always cried for a distinction between for-profit and not-for-profit institutions and between social services for the public good which supplement government services and transactions for personal gain.”
He singled out income tax and VAT saying that they are hurting educational institutions which are complimenting government in the provision of services, “I appeal to government and members of parliament to rethink this tax regime.”
In agreement, UCU Vice Chancellor Rev. Canon. Dr. John Senyonyi said, “we have for years pleaded for tax relief from government for not-for-profit education institutions. These education institutions are laden with both income tax and value added tax! This cripples us.”
How bad is the tax regime?
Speaking in May 2017 during the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of UCU Kampala Campus, Dr. Senyonyi gave an idea of the how these taxes affect university operations. He revealed that during the construction of UCU’s Hamu Mukasa Library, the University paid about USD 600,000 (about Shs 2.1 billions) in taxes, “yet a library isn’t a profit making venture, it is an investment aimed at providing an ideal learning environment to our students.” The Hamu Mukasa Library sits 1,200 people, stores 250,000 volumes of books and 200 computers in the open terrace.
Archbishop pleads with NCHE
The Archbishop also asked the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) to speed up the accreditation of the UCU medical school for it to start its operations, “We are waiting for accreditation of the programme to commence admissions…the University submitted the curriculum to the National Council for Higher Education in October 2016…I appeal to the National Council for Higher Education and the Medical Council, to help us and speed up this process.”
Even before the accreditation of the programme, Dr. Senyonyi revealed that the university had received more than 200 unsolicited applicants interested to join UCU’s medical school! The University recently paid inspection fees to the NCHE. They are however yet to inspect and accredit the program.
A total of 1,136 students graduated with diplomas, bachelor’s degrees postgraduate diplomas and master’s degrees. Of these, 50.1% (569) are male while 49.9% (567) were female. Forty three (43) got first class degrees. At 24 (56%), most of the graduands with first class degrees are females compared to 19 (44%) males. The best performing student has an overall GPA of 4.82.
The graduation had pioneer graduands for Bachelor of Governance & International Relations and Master of Journalism & Media Studies students. The two have 22 students and one student graduating respectively. The course with the most number of graduates was law which had 285 students graduate.