The Ugandan authorities have ordered religious groups to pay taxes on Bibles and Korans, reports the Daily Monitor newspaper.
It comes after months of discussions between the tax authorities and religious organisations, the latter of whom remained opposed to the proposition.
Clerics across faith groups reacted to the proposal with consternation and disbelief, insisting the religious materials should be tax-exempt since they use them for “spiritual nourishment” of Ugandans.
The secretary-general of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, Ramathan Mugalu, told the Daily Monitor that the government has “gone too far”.
“How can you tax the word of God?” he asked.
The secretary-general of the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, Joshua Kitakule, was also unhappy about the decision.
“These items are not meant for profit; so, it is erroneous to tax them,” he told the newspaper.
Doris Akol, commissioner-general of the Uganda Revenue Authority, said in April it was an “anomaly” that the religious books were not taxed before.
Canon Joram Kahenano, a Church of Uganda commissioner says his church would have increase the price of Bibles by 3,000 Ugandan shillings ($0.80; £0.59) to 18,000 Ugandan shillings to cover the cost of the tax increase.
If enforced, it also means the government could raise substantial revenues from taxes on religious materials.
The religious institutions were unable to immediately provide the number of Bibles, Korans and other worship materials sold in a year.
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