There are days, when you wonder if these people are sincere or real? I wonder if the National Resistance Movement (NRM), the whole organization and the Members of Parliament (MPs) ever thought their acts would have impact on society? They were just thinking it was rubber-stamping another budget and another relief for the deficit without concern of how it would impact the public. That can be put into question, after reading the statement made by the Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda at the Parliament earlier today.
“Rt.Hon.Speaker and Hon.Colleagues, 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. Rt.Hon.Speaker and Hon.Colleagues, Government is now reviewing the taxes taking into consideration the concerns of the public and its implications on the budget” (Ruhakana Rugunda, 2018).
What this is evident known, that the state wasn’t ready for the impact it would have on the public. The public outcry and also the unfairness of these taxes. The phones are paid VAT, Income Tax of the Companies and now the Exercise Duty on it, therefore, double taxation when going in on Social Media, and triple when transmitting money through the Mobile Money Service.
What the PM is saying at the end is that they are starting to review the taxes, that should have been done in the first report delivered to the Parliament, as the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, should have shown the problems. They only was focused on the possible revenue, because of the status of revenue made by the Telecommunication Companies. Instead, of looking into the costs it would be put on the consumers and citizens. They we’re totally focused on the revenue to the state to fix the deficit.
That the state wants to review it now. They should have done it this way, as the whole thing started with letter written from the President and sent to Finance Minister Matia Kasaija on the 12th March 2018. Ordering to look into OTT and Social Media Taxes. In the midst of that, there was written a report and around 30th May 2018, the taxes was passed and got enacted, as the taxes started this 1st July 2018. It has been effective for only 10 days, but already shows all the flaws and fallacies in it.
It is like the NRM and the President, thought this would be a smooth ride of double and triple taxation. Where the excuse all along is that the Telecoms are eating the money and the development, the state has put into the industry, however, if that is the case, why don’t the state tax the companies more? Because now they are taxing the public into ridiculous levels.
So, the state is going circles, but instead of doing due diligence before enacting and levying the taxes. They are doing it after the fact, they are doing after the cat is out of the bag. The people see the ugly monster now, it isn’t an urban legend. It is real and they have no issues bleeding and destroying the economy on simple taxation. They are making it more expensive to pay bills and utilities. They are making it less viable to spread information and be part of a conversation. Because it is to costly to big chunks of the public. That is proven with the level of taxes put on each head passing into the digital atmosphere.
The PM have forgotten his role, as a Representative, but that what happens when you were the crown and forget the people. They are talking about reviewing it now. That should have been done long before it was tabled in the Parliament for voting and gotten passed in the plenary session in May 2018.
The report delivered should have enlisted the costs and the burdens, it should have been sincere, a document which numbers crunchers could have tested and seen if they were manipulated. Now, the reality is that the government didn’t collect the cost on each individual, neither the loss of certain low-level data-bundles and air-time packages. As they we’re abolished because of the added costs of taxes baked into the packages.
That is what the PM doesn’t even discuss or care. It is hard to believe that the state will seriously review it now, they will be busy bodies counting the shillings and add-ons to the state. I have little faith that they will looking into the lost meat boiled of the bone. They will not look after the wounded or the hurt from this.
They are might getting added revenue at the present by this, but they are also destroying a growing industry, that they could have taxed wiser and found ways to earn more revenue through. Instead, they are punishing the citizens for using digital ways instead of showing up in bank sending money there. Peace.
Ruhakana Rugunda – ‘Statement to Parliament by the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister on the recently introduced taxes on Mobile Money transactions and Over The Top (OTT) services’ 11.07.2018 link: https://ugandamediacentreblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/11/statement-to-parliament-by-the-rt-hon-prime-minister-on-the-recently-introduced-taxes-on-mobile-money-transactions-and-over-the-top-ott-services/
The ironies of all of this, is that isn’t very special, as the Kampala Metropolitan Police are now looking for the Member of Parliament Robert Kyagulanyi. Who was part of the leadership who held a demonstration in Central Business District of Kampala. Clearly, the Authorities hadn’t accepted this, as they themselves put violence into it, they shot tear-gas, live bullets and dispersed the public. He escaped himself and was able to get to the Parliament. Certainly this is not the end.
As the Chimp Reports reports later:
“Kampala Police are set to issue summons against Kyadondo East Constituency Member of Parliament (MP), Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine for inciting violence and holding unlawful processions. Bobi Wine this morning led a team of protesters who marched from down town Kampala toward the City square. These, carrying banners were protesting the new social media and mobile money taxes” (Nixon Segawa – ‘MP Bobi Wine Wanted By Police Over Social Media Tax Demo’ 11.07.2018).
This here is continuing the methods of Kayihura and his ways. As they are using the Public Order Management Act (POMA) and use of the Penal Code to apprehend him to the Police Force within time. As the MP humiliated the Kampala Metropolitan, even as this would most likely not gotten the permit to demonstrate on it. IGP Okoth-Ochola has no quarrel using the same techniques to silence the voice of the people.
Bobi Wine is just showing way and doing what the other opposition leaders have done. As they campaign for cause and gain publicity for it. This here is a sign of will and how quickly he can get people behind him. That the MP could get as much and be able to organize this, even use the Social Media to get people to demonstrate. Shows the power of the people. Not that it changed much on the ground today, but shows the same-old, same old.
There are even arrests of other activists and demonstrators, which is held at the Kampala Central Police Station, while what they are arrested for is not clear yet. However, the police has taken them to custody in the manner, which they are known for. They are initiating violence and use weapons on the defenseless, the citizens who demonstrate for a good cause, one that are depleting their bank-accounts, double or triple taxation of the same services.
Still, the culprits of the violence walks, while the leaders of the demonstrations are demonized and arrested.
This seems like yet another day in opposite day. Where the rule of law is acting as vile criminals, while the public is deemed criminal for voicing their discomfort. It is surreal, but ordinary by the standards of the Police Force.
Bobi Wine is just a man, but a man of principal and fierce, he is young and vibrant. Everything this rulers of the land isn’t today. The NRM have forgotten why the exists. They have forgotten what their visions and their orthodoxy was in 1980s. Because Bobi Wine is speaking the same 32 years later.
It is tragic, but that is the way it is. Peace.
“We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to mankind.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
The Public Officials and Appointed Personnel in the Republic has gotten new rates and allowances for their duties. This was sent by the Permanent Secretary Catherine Birarakwate Musingwiire on the 26th June 2018. This is from a circular noted to the Ministry of Public Service. These rates are effective from the 1st July 2018, this was the same time as the new Excise Duty came into affect, therefore, the high ranking officials was covered themselves from the matters at hand. I am just showing two of them, there are plenty more, but it gives you a feeling of the greedy guts.
For the Safari-Day Allowance for all public leaders it went up a 100%, that is for when a public officials or political leaders are traveling at least for 6 hours during the day. To cover expenses for food and other needs for the travel. An RDC for instance goes from getting 13,000 shillings that day in question to the humble sum of 120,000 shillings. A Minister or State Minister goes from 18,000 shillings to the noble sum of 150,000 shillings. The Prime Minister goes from 20,000 to 160,000 shillings. The VP goes from 21,000 to 165,000 shillings.
The Mobile Telephone Allowance for certain public officials. Permanent Secretaries goes from 150,000 to the 210,000 shillings. Ministers of State and Ministers goes from 180,000/200,000 to the humble sum of 252,000/280,000. The Prime Minister goes from 250,000 to the 350,000 shillings. These people are clearly not worried about the new excise duties.
This is just for two allowances and not the whole package, I have not shown the madness of traveling abroad and the cost of that for the public officials and the appointed district officials. The Safari-day and Mobile Telephone Allowances is showing enough of the madness.
The cronies are not only getting high level salaries, but added allowances to get wealthy while on duty. That is one of the perks of working in the state, and not the private business market, as the state is offering high rates on travels and other work. It must be glory days to be a part of the elite and cronies of the President. These NRM foot soldiers are waling with fat pockets, while the ordinary person is starving. Such a devastating affair. Peace.
“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”- Frédéric Bastiat
There are sometimes I wonder, not even a narrow escape of willingness to be humiliated or say, that you know nothing about the subject or feel that your out of your bounds. However, that is never the case for this President, His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is defending the Mobile Money Tax and Social Media Tax. Like it is the gift of heaven. I have taken the two most notable quotes, because it really shows his intent. He really wants to silence people and not let them communicate in the modern era. In Uganda it is time to buy beepers, send wires and hope to God the Pigeon get back on time. Because, the President says anyone speaking or enjoying himself or herself on Social is Malicious.
“Therefore, some of us, myself included, either earn the dollars or save the dollars by producing products instead of importing them, but some of our countrymen donate those dollars back to the foreigners by chatting endlessly on the social media. Is this correct or fair? Is it good for our country? Mobile money transfer is, of course, different from the social media chatting. Social media chatting is a luxury by those who are enjoying themselves or those who are malicious” (Museveni, 2018).
That he calls that a luxury now is insulting, as this is means of communicating in the 21st Century. Maybe, just maybe, it is time for him to rear his cows and leave the seat for someone else. Because, this is just too foolish. If he thinks he has a sound mind and clear assessment, this isn’t it.
If he wants things to the public, if he want good credit and use of public space in this era. You use social media to gain attention. That is why even the most notable figures are on Social Media realising their content online. That is why the TV stations are on Youtube and other place, to gain interests and show their style to the world. If that is malicious, maybe, he himself should shut-up, as he has no trouble calling people our as vermin and insects. That is the insulting part, he has the mouth of degraded farmer and not a statesman. So it is not like the President himself carries no MALICE!
“As to social- media tax, all the moral reasons are in favour of that tax. The social – media users have no right to squander the dollars I earn from my coffee , my milk etc by endlessly donating money to foreign telephone Companies through chatting or even lying and, then, they are allergic to even a modest contribution to their country whose collective wealth they are misusing” (Musveni, 2018).
Moral reasons? Not just merely getting more funds to spoil yourself and your kind? Really? That is the reason, the reason for the new taxes, so that the State House can spend more and use more of the wealth on foreign travels, expensive food and whatnot. A state that indulge the MPs and State Officials, mushrooms the cronyism, not to forget the corrupt behaviour of high-ranking officials. All of these will get a cut of these taxes. It is not like it will go to roads or hospitals. They are depleted as they is and the MPs are getting more perks and bigger houses by the day. So don’t speak of your coffee and milk, your milking the system so hard, if it was a cow. The cow wouldn’t be breathing because of the pressure to produce more milk in time.
It is your state that has given the Foreign Companies license to have Telecommunications, and they are offering these services. Your are already taxing the airtime and data-bundles, the profits and the other VAT and such. So it is not like the consumers aren’t paying taxes on the spending on the Cellphones and the services included. However, you are not targeting the Telecoms, but your targeting the people. You have the same excuse as Minister for ICT. I understand that stupid arguments runs from the top in this government. It is very visible. The paywall is for the consumer and not for the company. That is what this tax is doing; it is shielding the consumer from using, unless they pay the tax.
What sort of moral obligation does the consumer who pays all the taxes for the services to be taxed double, because the state doesn’t have the heart or the ability to tax the Telecoms properly? Aye? Tell me, please? Your royal highness?
It is time to get out of your village mentality and get back to real world. Apparently, no one has had the ability to tell you so. Nevertheless, if you would consider, the Social Media would be a good tool to get tourist, even get more foreign investors to grab land. So that you can take the benefits and the land from the people, as you usually do. They can see the beautiful hunting grounds or fertile land, and you can give it away, because people are posting the scenery and nature of Uganda. However, that will be pointless and costly now, because of you. That will only be for the ones with key interests of doing so. Peace.
Yoweri Kaguta Museveni – ‘Why government is taxing social media – Museveni’ (04.07.2018)
There are sometimes you wished the government did their due diligence, even though it true, before levying taxes like the Social Media Tax. That can now be questioned and that with force as well, becasuse the Minister for ICT Frank Tumwebaze tried to defend the new taxes, but it is seriously flawed. First I let him argue and defend, before I address the matter.
“While Ugandans rightly argue that government should be taxing OTTs such as Facebook, the Minister noted that these ignore the applicability of this. “Internet Service Providers such as MTN and Airtel are licensed by UCC; they pay taxes and have invested heavily in building networks. But OTTS come and freely push content here using the existing networks; they contribute nothing to the building of the networks; they just get their money and go away,” he explained. “The debate therefore should be on how to capture OTTS to contribute to expanding of local networks and sustaining them.” “Even if government targeted Facebook, and said we are going to block the Facebook gateway if they don’t pay to URA; the same (public) uproar will come because we are blocking social media.” (Waswa, 2018).
They are literally blocking the Social Media as of today. That with a paywall through the existing Mobile Networks to access Social Media. Therefore, he is letting the people take the burden and not the companies. He talks about the content and service delivery, but the ones hurt is the people. The users/citizens use the Social Media who pays the OTT Tax. The tax is not on the Social Media Companies nor the Telecom Companies; that is just the fact and should be a concern for the minister.
Therefore, even with the tax at hand, the public is paying the taxman, not the ones putting forward the products through the Mobile Networks or Online. That is why the argument of Tumwebaze is flawed. He is missing one key ingredient, and that should be stated. It is not the companies that are paying these levied taxes, it is the users or the citizens themselves. That means, whatever the companies does, they are shielded, because they are not directly paying the levied tax.
The honourable Minister is losing on two grounds:
By putting up a paywall, he is blocking the ones that cannot afford to communicate through the Social Media.
Secondly, he is by definition not taxing the companies, but the users of these companies.
Therefore, he should go back to the drawing board and find other crayons, because the colouring of the Picture, he is doing right now is to be a bit blunt, ugly. Peace.
Waswa, Sam – ‘Tumwebaze Explains Social Media Predicament: ‘There’s No Way of Taxing OTT Companies’ (04.07.2018) link: https://chimpreports.com/tumwebaze-explains-social-media-predicament-theres-no-way-of-taxing-ott-companies/