President Yoweri Museveni has directed parliament to hold further discussions with the view to reaching consensus on how government should raise the much needed revenue to finance the budget and undertake the development agenda without causing unbearable burden to the citizens.
This was carried in a statement delivered before parliament by Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, the Prime minister this afternoon. The house was discussing the infamous Social Media tax (OTT) and mobile money tax.
The Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill 2018 was presented, debated and passed by parliament last month. It was subsequently assented to by President Yoweri Museveni and became an Act of Parliament. This Act imposes 1% levy on all mobile money transactions with exception from deposits. It further imposes a specific charge of UGX 200 on over the top (OTT) services per day of access.
“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 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 citizen” the Prime Minister said.
The PM added that government is now reviewing the taxes taking into consideration the concerns of the public and its implications on the budget. This review he says is being expedited to ensure that government presents an Amendment of the Excise Duty (Amendment) Act 2018 to the house for debate on Thursday July 19th 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” the premier said.
Adding that; “Rt.Hon. speaker and Hon Colleagues, I would like to assure this Parliament 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 our development agenda.”
During the plenary, MPs wondered what will happen to the money already collected from OTT and Mobile money tax. Hon. Cecilia Ogwal asked government to refund people.
The speaker in turn promised to make a ruling on the proposed bill in tomorrow’s sitting.