Mobile Money Tax: MPs Throw Out Activists

1424 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Jane Avur Pacutho the Woman MP Pakwach then asked the group to leave the room. She said they werent in position to meet the group without their team leader. She asked the activists to write formally to Parliament if they want to present their views.

Activists behind the Mobile money and Over The Top Services (OTT) protests were today thrown out by the Parliament's Finance Committee.

The group comprising of journalists Joel Ssenyonyo of NTV, Raymond Mujuni of NBS TV and lawyers Godiva Akullo and Silver Mugisha had appeared before the Committee to submit their views on the Excise Duty Amendment No.2 Bill 2018 that seeks to amend the tax on mobile money from 1%.

However, the group faced it rough when the committee members noted that the letter requesting for the meeting had been authored by Kyadondo East MP, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu.

Kyagulanyi today appeared at the army court martial in Gulu and was remanded to Makindye Military Prison on charges of illegal possession of guns and ammunition.

The committee said they were only expecting Kyagulanyi and were not aware of the role the journalists and the lawyers in the meeting.

Jane Avur Pacutho the Woman MP Pakwach then asked the group to leave the room. She said they weren't in position to meet the group without their team leader. She asked the activists to write formally to Parliament if they want to present their views.

Akullo said the people in Government were looking down on youths even when they are majority in the country. She said youths too have a stake and therefore need to be listened too.

Ssenyonyi said that their names were included in the list of those to appear before the committee with Kyagulanyi. 

In their statement, the activists questioned why there were no taxes on other applications like  Uber, Google, You Tube, Safe Boda and other online services but specifically social media and mobile money which most Ugandans consider very important.

They said the entire process of collecting the tax and charging it is illegal.

"The implementation of the Act is being enforced through gate blocking and denial of access to the listed sites until payment of the said is effected, the statement says.

They also questioned why Government did not carry out any impact study on the digital economy and Ugandan digital Small medium enterprises among others.

 

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.