We are reviewing mobile money, social media tax- Government

Nelson Bwire Kapo

The Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, has reiterated government’s intention to review the controversial mobile money and social media tax that came into force at the beginning of this month.

In a statement to parliament Wednesday, Rugunda said government has noted public concerns regarding some of the elements in implementation of especially tax on mobile money transactions and OTT.

Rugunda said that they have received guidance from President Museveni on the matter with a view to reaching consensus on how “we should raise the much needed revenue to finance our budget and undertake the development agenda we have set for ourselves without causing unbearable burden to the citizens.”

There has been a lot of public discussion about the recently introduced taxes on Mobile Money transactions and Over the Top Services (OTT) commonly known as social media.

This follows the tabling and consequent passing of the Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill 2018. Upon being signed by President Museveni, the Act called for the imposition

Of a 1% Levy on receiving, payments and withdraws through mobile money platforms. In addition, it imposes a specific charge of Uganda Shillings (shs.) 200 on over the top (OTT) services per day of access.

On Wednesday morning, a group of people led by Kyadondo East Member of Parliament, Robert Kyagulanyi took to the streets to protest the said tax but would later be thwarted by the police.

Now Rugunda affirms that government has recorded the concerns of the citizens regarding the infamous taxes.

“Rt.Hon.Speaker and Hon.Colleagues, since the Act came since the Act came into force on 1st July 2018; Government has noted public concerns regarding some of the elements in implementation of especially tax on mobile money transactions and OTT.

H.E. the President has provided guidance on the matter and encouraged further discussion with a view to reaching consensus on how we should raise the much needed revenue to finance our budget and undertake the development agenda we have set for ourselves without causing unbearable burden to the citizens.”

“Government is now reviewing the taxes taking into consideration the concerns of the public and its implications on the budget. The review is being expedited to ensure that Government presents an Amendment of the Excise Duty (Amendment) Act 2018 to this House for debate on Thursday next week (19th July 2018) Hon. Members will therefore have the opportunity to debate and consult widely to guide Parliament during the consideration and debate of the Amendment Bill.”

Rugunda explained that government is committed to ensuring that the tax on mobile money and OTT are designed taking into account the public concerns and balancing the need to raise revenue to finance the country’s development agenda.

In an earlier statement by President Museveni, he said that he the mobile money and social media tax were open to debate and reconsideration. The President however revealed that the right levy is 0.5% and not 1% as indicated by different institutions of government.

The minister of finance, Matia Kasaijja had also prior noted that the levy on mobile money was actually supposed to be less than 1% but members of parliament forced the rate high while he was out of the country.

 

 

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