Campswahili Market in South Division in Moroto Municipality was a scene of a fist fight between Revenue collectors and charcoal vendors on Saturday over taxes.
It all started after a tax collector only identified as Lokiru approached a group of women moving with their charcoal along Kitale road and demanded for Shillings 500.
The women responded with insults leading to a fight. The vendors claimed they had not sold their charcoal to be able to pay tax on the roadside.
“Where can one get money for a tax without making any sales? We labor to move from our villages to town to sell charcoal then someone just walks in that taxes! What is wrong with these town people?” said one of the vendors only identified as Nadike.
Moroto Municipal Council approved a levy on charcoal vendors five years ago, but the tax has remained on books. In most cases, revenue collectors find it hard to collect the taxes as the charcoal vendors move from one place to another looking for customers.
Robert Ojangole, the chairperson Moroto Business Community faults the authorities for failing to organize the charcoal vendors. He notes that much as charcoal vending is a viable revenue source for the municipality, authorities have not put in place avenues for tapping the revenue.
“Implementation on this tax has been a challenge from inception. You can’t collect taxes from people moving all over town. They need to put up a place where charcoal is sold to realize this revenue,” Ojangole said.
Achok Jumbe, the South Division Chairperson who rushed to calm down the situation when other charcoal vendors and members of the business community joined hands to beat up the revenue collectors observed that there is need to organize the vendors in the municipality.
Charcoal vending is a common activity done mostly by women in Karamoja to support their families. A bag of charcoal ranges between Shillings 4,000- 15,000.