MPs to petition speaker over mobile money, social media taxes, want Parliament recalled

Posted: 2018-07-05T10:12:53Z
MPs to petition speaker over mobile money, social media taxes, want Parliament recalled

At least 154 signatures are needed by a section of Members of Parliament from fellow legislators in a bid to recall Parliament from recess over the Social Media and Mobile Money tax.
Hon. Gerald Karuhanga MP Ntungamo Municipality, Herbert Ariko MP Soroti Municipality, Robert Kyagulanyi MP Kyadondo East, and Bugabula South MP, Henry Maurice Kibalya are the members seeking to have the taxes over turned.

Addressing the media at Parliament on Wednesday the lead petitioner Karuhanga said that the passing of the taxes by Parliament was absurd.

“Representation just like law making emanates from the mandate granted by the people we are representing. If the people strongly are saying that we passed a very bad law, then it must be our cardinal call to come together and say this is a bad law and we need to amend it, we need to recall it” Karuhanga argued.

The MP added that they thought the law wouldn’t be passed, but to their surprise, it was. "Initially, we thought that we had made a mistake on the floor of parliament and we thought the government would also reconsider the enforcement. We believed that the majority voices of MPs had been loud and they were opposed to this tax but somehow it passed," he explained.

The development comes after members of the public raised concern with others calling for demonstrations against the two taxes, especially on mobile money which is even forcing businesses to close. They taxes came into effect on Sunday.

One has to pay UGX 200 per day to access social media platforms, and 1% off every mobile money transaction or sending, receiving and withdrawing money, notwithstanding the telecom’s fees. President Museveni on Wednesday however, admitted that the tax on mobile money was passed in error and it instead should have been 0.5%.

Karuhanga argues that they have decided to collect signatures and petition Speaker Rebecca Kadaga under Rule 21 of the Parliament Rules of Procedure to recall parliament from recess.

Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi the Kyadondo East MP says youths have been calling him to do something about the law and have it recalled.

“We have received calls from young people who feel misrepresented their businesses have drastically gone down, for those who are operating mobile money, and indeed many young people who use social media to do their business, research and things like that have been affected. So we are signing this petition to recall parliament, we know it’s a very busy time but again its supposed to be service time for our people. We are still standing by our ultimatum that if nothing is done by Friday, midday, we are going to proceed with other measures” Kyagulanyi said.