EALA moves motion to fast-track the harmonization of tax policies in the EAC

March 2024 was momentous in our advancement toward youth participation in creating progressive tax systems. Hon Stephen George Odongo, Member of East African Legislative Assembly, representing Uganda, was before the EALA and moved the motion for the EAC to fast-track the harmonization of tax policies to remove tax distortions and promote investment in the community.

With support from Diakonia, on the 1st June 2022, YTJN submitted a petition to the Speaker Emeritus of the East Africa Legislative Assembly, RT Hon. Martin Ngonga beseeching the EALA to debate and pass a motion urging Partner States to implement the EAC Council of Ministers Directives on Harmonization of Tax incentives of 2014.

YTJN Team Leader, National Youth Council Members Representatives from Uganda & Kenya and Regional Coordinator of the EAC Youth Ambassadors Platform after the Presentation of the Petition on Harmonization of Tax Incentives to Rt. Hon. Speaker Ngoga Martin of EALA in Arusha on 1st June, 2022.

The RT. Hon. Speaker received the petition and committed to find a member who could move the motion on the floor of Parliament. He further committed to putting the matter on the order paper and debated by the EALA.

This was realized on 13th March 2024. Hon George Odongo moved the motion, highlighting how crucial monetary stability is for the EAC to enhance and facilitate economic integration and the attainment of sustainable economic development in the Community.

Harmonizing the tax policies is meant to eliminate tax distortions and facilitate the free movement of goods, services, capital, and workforce, facilitate cross-border trade and investment, and enhance tax compliance and enforcement.

What does this mean for the youth?

Such harmonization is critical for the successful attraction of investments into the region since it guarantees balance and fairness in taxing individuals, products, and services, and thus reduces dispensation in tax competition among EAC partner states.

Fostering common tax policies propels economic integration and encourages nations to engage in long-term sustainable social, economic, and political development which is directly beneficial for the youth who make up a huge percentage of the population of the member states. The policies encourage economic integration within the East African Community (EAC), thus enhancing investment options, job opportunities, and economic growth leading to more youth employment prospects and a conducive business atmosphere.

Harmonization also supports revenue collection, strengthens tax cooperation as well as addresses double taxation issues, which in turn support the mobilization of domestic resources for East African Development. Removal of tax distortions and provision of an enabling environment where cross-border trade and investment are encouraged makes the business setup conditions favorable, thus contributing to the stability of the social and political fabric that is essential to the well-being of East African youth. Harmonizing the tax system makes it more transparent and enforceable, which consequently contributes to greater domestic resource mobilization that can be utilized to fund youth development activities such as education, health, and infrastructure development.