URA clarifies on taxing oxygen cylinders

As Uganda's covid-19 numbers continue to surge, hospitals are getting full, overwhelmed and oxygen supplies running low.

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Medical gas cylinders| Internet photo.

Uganda’s tax collectors, the Uganda Revenue Authority Tuesday clarified that it doesn’t levy taxes on oxygen gas cylinders.

According to URA, the oxygen gas cylinders are considered an essential tool used in diagnosis, prevention, treatment and management of the Covid-19 pandemic following the amendment of East Africa n Community Customs Management Act. Thus, they are
exempted from all taxes.

According to URA the Legal Notice No. EAC/89/2020 dated June 30, 2020 amended the 5th schedule of the Act, Item 20, to cater for Covid-19 supplies.

“More specifically, item 20 Part B: General Exemptions, item ii-1 (e), of the 5th schedule that was redesigned to read as follows; “Any supplies for diagnosis, prevention, treatment and management of epidemics, pandemics and health hazards as recommended by the competent authority in the ministry responsible for health.”

Several hospitals have cited lack of enough oxygen as a major reason for the less-than-satisfactory services to critically-ill Covid patients, many of who die due to inadequate oxygen.

According to officials, a Covid patient needs anywhere between 20 to 70 litres of oxygen per day, depending on whether the condition is mild, severe or critical, giving an average oxygen consumption of 45 litres per patient.

As Uganda’s covid-19 numbers continue to surge, hospitals are getting full, overwhelmed and oxygen supplies running low.

For over three weeks now, official statistics have shown more than 1000 people are found positive.

However, experts warn that the figures reported by government could be just a fraction of the real reach of the virus’s spread, which has thrown this country into emergency mode.

Today afternoon, the ministry of health said 34 people died on June 20, 2021 pushing the death toll to 714.

Also, the ministry confirmed 722 infections were found from tests conducted on the same date.

Currently, officials say 73,401 Ugandans have tested positive for the virus since the first case in March 2020.

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