Praise God! The Love container containing the water rig, farming and irrigation equipment is in Bulike and has been off loaded.
As you know, we have been trying to getting a tax relief for the container. I thank God, we got the job done and here is the amazing story and details of how we did it.
Our first approach was engaging the Uganda ministry of health with whom UCSS had a relationship and consequently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would possibly help with the tax relief. This route seemed quite promising but after a series of communications, the ministry was unable to fund the tax.
We tried talking to some people of influence who would offer help in getting UCSS with any other line ministries but they wanted kickbacks, something that was against our values. We then considered what we thought was a long-shot. We directly
engaged in conversations with the Uganda Revenue authority. All the Revenue officers, we talked with commended the work of UCSS but were unable to help us get a commitment for a tax relief. This was still the situation by the end of the year.
Contents of the Love Container offloaded in Bulike
Image of the Water Rig
And then we had a break through. On January 4th, Seth and Wendy Denny who were ministering with us in Bulike and I went back to the Uganda Revenue in Kampala AND ASKED THEM TO help us find a way to get a tax relief. The same official who had earlier heard about our plight had just been transferred to the Customs area and was now an acting commissioner. He determined that since the container contained the rig, the tiller and irrigation supplies and since UCSS planned to use the rig on the farm and for the good of the community, the tax authority decided to treat it all as agricultural equipment.
I know that many of you prayed and made phone calls. Only God knows how all of this changed but I am sure that your prayers and your leadership helped make it work out the way it did.Please note Agricultural equipment are tax exempt and water rig is not in Uganda laws. Please also note all humanitarian aid except those from UN and USAID pay VAT and some other taxes. So UCSS was charged demurage and customs tax for some few items that were in the container that would not be classified under agriculture.
Thank you so much for your prayers and for your continued commitment to serve on the UCSS board. UCSS is celebrating 5 years in Bulike and this is because you chose to devote your time to be part of UCSS.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank each one of you for both individually and collectively impacting my life and the lives of so many people in Bulike today. May the Lord continue to bless you.