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/