Pearl of Africa Hotel faces closure for defaulting on tax

Pearl of Africa Hotel, a five-star luxury facility in Kampala, has not paid local hotel tax worth sh39m, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has revealed.

According to KCCA, the unpaid tax accumulated from December last year up to March this year.

Local hotel tax is levied as per the Local Government (Amendment) Act 2008 Cap 243, and is paid by room occupants of a hotel per night.

Documents seen and dated July 18, 2018 show that although the exact tax was sh33.7m, KCCA slapped on them a surcharge of sh5.3m for delayed payment.

“Despite several reminders and engagements with the management of Pearl of Africa Hotel way before the November 15, 2017 deadline, they only submitted their last returns on December 8, 2017. They have never made any single local hotel tax remittance since commencement of operations,” reads the document signed by Fred Andema, the KCCA director of revenue collection.

“They (were) expected to pay 50% of the total outstanding amount before Friday July 20, 2018 and the balance in two equal monthly instalments commencing August to avoid enforcement action on the operations.”

Peter Kaujju, the KCCA director of public and corporate affairs said that the hotel and other businesses risk being closed if they don’t comply this month.

“We are nursing plans to close not only Pearl of Africa Hotel, but all businesses that have not honoured their obligations,” Kaujju said.

Efforts to get a comment from the proprietor of Pearl of Africa Hotel were futile as his known number was off.

On July 19, Abdul Latif Hamid, the general manager of Pearl of Africa Hotel, wrote to KCCA, requesting them to allow the management of the hotel to pay in four instalments.

“We are facing financial difficulties and if we are allowed to pay in instalments, we shall be able to operate and meet other financial needs,” he wrote then.

But Andema refused Hamid’s request.

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