Civil Society to Gov't: Revised Mobile Money Tax Still a Burden to Ugandans

1783 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The proposal stems from wide protests amongst mobile money subscribers and dealers accusing government of double taxation following the enforcement of the 1 percent levy on all mobile money transactions.

The Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group-CSBAG and Tax Alliance Uganda has raised objection to the proposed reduction of the mobile money transaction tax to 0.5%, saying it is still a burden to Ugandans.
Both the cabinet and the National Resistance Movement caucus have approved a reduction of the mobile money transaction tax from 1 percent to 0.5 percent. 

The proposal stems from wide protests amongst mobile money subscribers and dealers accusing government of double taxation following the enforcement of the 1 percent levy on all mobile money transactions. 

However, the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group and mobile money dealers want government scrap the tax. The activists petitioned the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Winifred Kiiza on Thursday morning.  

They advised government to drop the mobile money transaction tax and instead tax the escrow accounts held by banks on behalf of telecom companies currently estimated at Shillings 800billion. 
They say this would generate Shillings 11 billion for Government. Presenting the petition, Elliot Orizaarwa, the Vice chairperson CSBAG, said Government should charge the transaction fees like cash deposits, withdrawals and deposits instead of transaction values.  

Orizaarwa also proposed that the excise duty should be increased from 15% to 20% on transaction fees as a measure to raise taxes. She also says for the purpose of equity, the taxes should be extended to banks for instance on agency banking and ATMs.

According to Orizaarwa, the 0.5% tax levy on mobile money transactions is still a lot looking at the fact that many Ugandans transact using mobile money from the poor to the rich.

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Ben Kamyuka, the spokesperson of mobile money dealers, says they are already overtaxed by Government, adding that the new taxes are an additional burden. 

He says millions of youths employed in the sector are currently out of business because the business isn't doing well due to the new taxes.
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The Leader of Opposition, Winifred Kiiza welcomed the petition and promised to table it before the House, saying Uganda has one of the worst tax regimes. 

She said Government should be sincere in its dealings and be true to Ugandans.
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Parliament is expected to discuss the excise duty amendment number 2 Bill 2017 this afternoon.


About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.