Government introduces a Ugx 70,000 levy on fish maw

Government, in a new bill on taxes, has proposed to levy Ugx 70,000 from every kilogram of fish maw.

The levy will be charged on exporters who will be taking the fish product oversees.

Fish maw also known as swim bladder is a white hard membrane found inside the body of the Nile Perch.

A kilogram of small-sized fish maw costs 160,000 Shillings on the local market while a kilogram of medium-sized maws costs between 350,000 and 800,000 Shillings. A large maw that can make more than a Kilogram costs up to 1,100,000.

The maw costs between USD 450 (1.6 million Shillings) to 1,000 (3.6 million Shillings) on the international market.  

The fish maw is used to among other functions make surgical threads, plane parts, drugs and also used as food in different Asian countries.  

About 3,882 metric tons of fish product is exported to the different countries across the world annually. Uganda has only been exporting the product to China through other Asian countries. 

However, the people’s Republic of China, through its Department of Food and Drug Administration, in 2020 accepted the direct importation of the product from Uganda through the Directorate of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries.  

A Protocol between the two countries was signed and the Ministry estimated to start exporting fish maws directly to china immediately. 

Edward Rukuunya, the Director of the fisheries department in the Ministry estimates an export of up to 520 metric tons of the product and 26,000 metric tons of headless gutted fish.

Now government says, there is need to levy such fees on exporters of product to ensure that the Uganda tax base is widened.  The levy is expected to commence on July 1st this year and shall be paid to Uganda revenue Authority.

However some of the fish maw exporters in the country Entebbe Post has spoken to say, they were not consulted as Government proposed the levy.

“It may be high. We all agree we need the tax but it must be derived after consultations from the industry so as to have a fair and manageable levy.” Kassim Kintu one of the fish maw exporters says.

The bill currently is under scrutiny by the Parliamentary committee on Agriculture in a retreat in Jinja.  

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