The Ugandan Treasury Permanent Secretary has officially presented the Uganda officially amended VAT bill 2013/14 , where the 18% VAT tax has been withdrawn from Safari Accommodation .
‘I wish to inform you that during the passing of the VAT Amendment Bill 2013/14, exemption on the supply of hotel accommodation in tourist lodges and hotels outside Kampala District was reinstated’, the amendment read.
This was tremendous news to all tour operators, travel agents like Uganda Trek and other tourist stake holders in Uganda They praised the efforts of their respective associations, and the Uganda Tourism Board who made repeated pleas to parliament and to government to have this tax measure rescinded, as it made accommodation safari packages across Uganda more expensive by 18%.
This sudden VAT increase was most rejected by the tourist some on whom preferred to cancel than pay extra. This resulted in loses, frustrations as well as decrease tourists numbers. Initially in particular members of parliament showed total disregard and in the words of one key stakeholder almost contempt for their lobbying efforts, before a final push through the Ministry of Tourism, the Uganda Tourism Board and the parliamentary committee on tourism paved the way for a change of heart by parliament when they voted on the amendments by government to the Finance Bill 2013/14 and the various VAT elements included.