Deaf People Seek Tax Exemption

Friday, 30 October 2015 14:53 Written by  Linda Kabuzire
Rebecca Kadaga Launched the Deaf Advocacy agenda on Thursday Rebecca Kadaga Launched the Deaf Advocacy agenda on Thursday

them to access sign language interpretation services wherever they need them like at state functions, during presidential addresses and deliberations in parliament.

Under the auspices of the Uganda National Association of the Deaf (UNAD), the Deaf describe the continued taxation amidst government failure to provide sign language interpretation services which is central to their communication, as double jeopardy that subjects them to extra expenses and in the process deprives majority of them who can’t afford an opportunity to live dignified lives.

This, was divulged during the launch of the Deaf Advocacy agenda titled, “Securing Our Rights: The Uganda Deaf Advocacy Agenda 2016-2021” at the closure of the 2015 International Deaf Awareness Week (IDAW) celebrations in Mukono on Thursday.

“It is important to note that Deaf people rely on support of other people such as sign language interpreters to live their lives, yet they don’t have a different salary scale from their hearing counterparts. Such exemptions will help us cater for additional costs of sign language interpreters until such a time when government provides them in public places and service centers,” reads the Deaf advocacy agenda in part.

Ambrose Murangira, the UNAD Executive Director underscored the importance of sign language to the Deaf saying, “Be it access to education, health services, access to information, they are all aided by communication through sign language.”

The Deaf advocacy agenda highlights key concerns that the Deaf want to be addressed by political actors and development partners in the next five years.

It summarizes the Deaf demands into six priority areas: Access to Information, Access to Education, Access to Health, Poverty Eradication and Economic Empowerment, Implementation of Pro-Deaf laws and  a National Awareness and sensitization campaign on Deafness.

In his speech read by the Speaker of Parliament Rebbecca Kadaga, President Museveni pledged government’s support in promoting sign language.

“As government, we shall continue to stand with you to the cause and call for massive training of sign language to the youth as well as build sign language platforms for all Ugandans,” Museveni said.

He revealed that government is in the process of establishing 18 special needs schools at sub-regional levels to cater for special categories of PWDs especially the deaf and the blind.

The president also asked the Ministry of education and sports to increase the number of special needs teachers.

On her part, Kadaga pledged to expedite the passage of the 2014 PWD (amendment) Bill presently before parliament into law before the end of the tenure of the current parliament.

“I will ensure that these matters are fast-tracked so that they are handled either just before or soon after the elections (in February2016),” she said.

Tabled in parliament on July 15, 2014, the bill seeks to repeal the PWD Act, 2006.

Kadaga also urged organisations to employ PWDs and benefit from a tax incentive that accrues according to section 17 of the PWDs Act, 2006.

It reads, “Private employers who employ ten or more persons with disabilities either as regular employees, apprentice or learner on full time basis shall be entitled to tax deduction of fifteen percent
of all payable tax upon proof to the Uganda Revenue Authority.”

Citing a recent parliamentary intervention that halted the recruitment of immigration officials by subjecting interviewees to running exercises as part of the interview process to the detriment of PWDs, she said parliament supports PWD causes.

Source: Chimp Reports