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NRM MPs bought for cheap: 2nd Mobile Money vote cost less than an Audi R8 Quattro!

Today, it is revealed what the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Members of Parliaments (MPs) was promised on the 1st October at the Entebbe State House on the day before the second time voting for the newly enacted taxes, which are on Social Media and Mobile Money. Clearly, the President and his allies wanted to sweeten the juice, as they was promised some more money. Not that it was much.

During the meeting, legislators (according to our source) were promised 15 millions each to vote “No” opposing the scrapping off of 0.5% as proposed by MP Wilfred Niwagaba last week when the bill had reached committee stage. In the vote, 164 MPs agreed to maintain the levy on mobile money while 124 voted to have it scrapped. A total of 288 legislators were present and voted” (Moses Namayo – ‘MPs promised Shs 15m each for vote to keep mobile money tax- Reports’ 03.10.2018, link: http://nilepost.co.ug/2018/10/03/mps-promised-shs-15m-each-for-vote-to-keep-mobile-money-tax-reports/).

I would have been thinking that the MPs would be more costly, if not their greed is making them cheap and Bosco knows it. As they are now accepting to get a small pickle push of 15 million shillings or $ 3,924 USD, which is less than 4,000 dollars each. When your hearing that, you surprised how little that is to keep a tax, which is hurting huge part of the population and also making every transaction more expensive. They are still making it expensive and costly for the public to takeout money through the mobile money. In a Republic where it is costly to even be ordinary banking.

That is why it weird and sad that these NRM MPs are that cheap, that Bosco can pay them off with only 4,000 USD or 15 million shillings. If you take it all collectively, there was a 164 MPs who voted for it and adding up. That would be a total 640m shillings or $167k USD. Which is not more worth than one 2018 Audi R8 Quattro, which costs $164,900. If a few more had voted for keeping the Mobile Money, than Bosco might have used the amount for an upgraded version: “The R8 Spyder convertible costs $177,100, and the more-powerful R8 Plus will cost about $194,400” (Cherise Threewitt – ‘ Cars That Cost $100,000’ 28.09.2018, link: https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/cars-that-cost-100-grand).

So, the NRM MPs isn’t really that expensive, their ideals, their egos and their greed isn’t costing more than super Audi R8 Quattro. That is expensive enough for me to never in my life-time to touch it. But if someone should be bribed to sell out their constituents for a destructive tax. All done in favor of Bosco. The pay-off should be bigger, there should be enough for a car-park filled with Audi R8 Quattro’s. Not just selling out for one. I was disappointed, when the Age Limit pay-off, wasn’t costing more than one Aston Martin. Now it costed an Audi R8. Clearly, the NRM is still traded off for cheap. Peace.

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Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine statement on the Second Passing of the Mobile Money Tax (02.10.2018)

Today I attended Parliament after some time, for the sole purpose of making our voice heard on the mobile money tax. The government has deliberately avoided a discussion on the social media tax!

Majority of the NRM Members of Parliament voted to maintain the mobile money tax. 164 MPs voted in favor of the tax while 124 of us voted to have it scrapped. I know that we are all disappointed but not surprised.

Once again, a majority of our elected representatives ignored the cries and pleas of the common person. I have made it clear to my colleagues that we must learn to side with the people or the people will despair. They cannot continue to further oppress the already oppressed citizens of this country.

I must appreciate all colleague MPs who voted for the removal of the tax. Special thanks to the many NRM MPs who defied the intimidation and voted with the people. From experience, we know that they will be persecuted for taking a contrary stand. But I know that the reward for doing what is right always outweighs any form of persecution.

Ultimately, all these things emphasise what I have been saying- our redemption will not come from anywhere else. It will come from us. We only need to realise that all power lies with us. If our own MPs, elected by us, cannot listen to us on anything, including redeeming us from exploitative taxes, then we must realise that WE ARE ON OUR OWN and work each day to liberate ourselves. No one else will do. Teli kuzikiza.

Uganda: The Excise Duty (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2018

Pre Mobile Money Tax: BOU registered significant growth in FY2017/18!

Today, there is a new vote and amendment of the Mobile Money in the Parliament. They voted like blind drones in the last go-around and most likely to do the same. With a little flair and jippo, hoping the hungry hippo isn’t mad. However, the reality remained, that a growing market, a market where the revenue and natural growth could have resided. The National Resistance Movement and their President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, went in like bulldozer. Hoping it wouldn’t destroy it, but actually gain. It is foolish, but that is how they act.

That is why it is special to read again, what where there, but what is now hurt:

“Mobile money services continued to register significant growth in the year ended June 2018. The number of mobile money transactions increased to 1.3 trillion for the year to June 2018 from 1.1 trillion transactions in the prior year. The corresponding value of mobile money transactions increased to UGX 73.1 trillion from UGX 52.8 trillion in the previous year. However, the number of registered mobile money users decreased from 22.8 million in June 2017 to 22.7 million as at end of June 2018, largely attributed to the deregistration of mobile money accounts whose users had not submitted the requisite KYC credentials to maintain their registration status. Growth of mobile money activity has significantly benefited from diversified usage beyond the initial remittances, airtime purchases and bills payments. New developments such as bank account to mobile money wallet and vice versa, have significantly changed the conduct of banking business and increased convenience of access to banking services. In addition, customers are now also able to save and borrow through their mobile money accounts which has positive knock-on effects to financial intermediation in general” (Bank of Uganda Annual Report 2017/2018).

We know post- June 2018, that the landscape has changed. Even mere month after the Mobile Money tax, the usage went down and the companies we’re sending red-signals to the authorities. The added revenue stream to government, didn’t met up to par or the levels anticipated, as people changed their pattern and usage of money. Because, who want to pay double or triple tax for sending money? Than, they rather hire a boda to drive the money from town to town. It can even be cheaper, than paying the Uganda Revenue Authority or the MTN for their services.

Clearly, this little snippet of the report from the Bank of Uganda, should show the Members of Parliament, the importance of Mobile Money. Which, they had no trouble with interfering in and also possibly hurt. This are for the ones that cannot afford ordinary banking services or for the ones, in the villages that are too far away to even register their cash there. They should matter to the MPs, but they didn’t before, as they took this informal banking services through the Cellphone providers and added more pain. Instead of finding ways to grow it and expand. So more people could benefit from the new money unleashed on the market this way. Peace.

MTN Uganda and Mastercard diversify Mobile Money services in Uganda (25.09.2018)

Through this partnership, MTN MoMo customers will use a virtual card to shop or make payments at the vast network of global outlets accepting Mastercard payments.

KAMPALA, Uganda, September 25, 2018 – MTN Uganda (MTN.co.ug) in partnership with Mastercard (Mastercard.com) and United Bank for Africa (UBA) (UBAGroup.com) have announced a new service that will enable quicker, safer and more convenient online payments globally.  Through this partnership, MTN MoMo customers will use a virtual card to shop or make payments at the vast network of global outlets accepting Mastercard payments.

The launch of the virtual card that is known as MTN MoMocard will ensure MTN’s ability to provide its customers access to products and services previously a preserve of physical credit card holders while diversifying its mobile money portfolio. Additionally, the partnership will result in a wide range of cutting-edge digital payment solutions being introduced in Uganda.

“MTN MoMo is helping to connect more Ugandans to new forms of commerce,” said Wim Vanhelleputte, Chief Executive Officer, MTN Uganda. “Our affordable mobile financial services are positively impacting communities and lifestyles in Uganda. This is evidenced by the phenomenal growth in both the number of customers and volume of transactions over the years,” he added.

Like a debit card that is linked to a bank account, the MTN MoMocard is linked to a customer’s MTN MoMo account but is accessible on any type of mobile phone. All a customer has to do is dial 165*70# and follow the instructions.

The MTN MoMocard can be used on any merchant platform that accepts Mastercard – locally and globally. Consumers that travel frequently for business or leisure, or those that shop online will enjoy the convenience of the easy-to-use solution.

Ngozi Megwa, Vice President Market Development, Sub-Saharan Africa, Mastercard said, “Besides the ability to connect more consumers to a solution that enables them to pay without cash, the virtual card also supports the growth of e-commerce in Africa and supports businesses who want to appeal to a wider audience. Digital payments is shaping commerce, the backbone of any economy. We are excited about the MTN partnership and its ability to connect us with an audience hungry for innovation.”

The MTN MoMocard is powered by United Bank for Africa, which facilitates the payment transactions online, both locally and internationally.

“UBA is excited to be the bank partner with Mastercard and MTN on this milestone project that not only enhances convenience for mobile money customers but also the utility of the service. The bank recognises the role of technology in enhancing financial services delivery and welcomes future similar partnerships,” said Johnson Agoreyo, the UBA Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer.

The 200 Shillings of Doom: Millionaire MPs complain about possibly paying 400 shillings daily for OTT Access!

It is a disgrace, the best paid representatives with all sorts of benefits, even not even taxed for their salaries, these Members of the Parliament (MPs). That these MPS are complaining about the OTT Tax. These MPs who are earning approximately earning about 26,000,000 Ugandan Shillings ($6,852) monthly. MPs are complaining that they have pay 400 shillings a daily. Because they have to pay OTT on their personal Cellphone and also on their Ipads. So lets say a month is 30 days we add that with 400 shillings (Ipad + Cellphone) that is total 12,000 shillings ($ 3.1). That is why it is insulting, that ones earning giant fortunes are complaining about paying possible for one more gadget. This is a tax they enacted in Parliament not long ago. They should have the courage and the funds to pay this sums, but seemingly that is too much for them. How about the people then, who doesn’t earns millions of shillings a month?

Parliament has clarified that members of parliament can access free Social Media services on their IPADs only when transacting parliament business. The Principal information officer at Parliament Moses Bwalatum, says according to the contract signed between Parliament and the Ipad Service providers, legislators can only use them for the legislative roles unless the contract are reviewed. This means that legislators have to pay OTT tax on their personal phone to access the other social media platforms” (NBS Television, 14.09.2018).

They should be capable to spend these meager sums of money. As the MPs should be able to pay 3 US Dollars a month for the OTT on both Cellphone and Ipad, as they are earning close to 6800 US Dollars. It is insane, that they whose earning such fortunes in a country, where civil servants aren’t earning that much. They are high-ranking and huge salaries which should cover everything, especially another 200 shillings, which is apparently to much for these rich MPs.

That the MPs cannot manage to spend a total of 3 dollars a month on OTT Taxes are insane, when they are earning over 6000 dollars a month, are they that lavish on their side-dishes, that they cannot mange to pay this? But they said the ordinary citizens and that this would not discriminate people, as this was a luxury. Is this now a luxury that the millionaire MPs cannot manage?

Are 400 shillings a day to much to ask for the ones who are already tax-exempt on their salary? Are you that greedy? 

Seriously, the MPs who enacted the OTT Tax should be able to pay for it, just like everyone else. They are having a giant salaries, housing, cars and whatnots covered. They are surely able to do this, but are stubborn and greedy, as sleazy salesmen, they expect to be…

They are certainly not showing confidence, but a more a mockery of the people. Since they have wealth and the general public doesn’t. Peace.

Parliament of Uganda: Clarification on OTT Tax remarks attributed to Hon. Kaps Hassan Fungaroo (14.09.2018)

Exercise Duty: Tumwebaze and BoU sends mixed messages, today!

Today, it was striking that the government really hitting a home-run in double messaging. The National Resistance Movement (NRM) started from 1st July 2018 to tax all parts of the transactions with Mobile Money Tax. This is receiving, sending and also uploading the funds. That is why these funds have been tripled taxed with the other taxes that is already put on the transactions like PAYE and VAT.

That is why the Honorable Tumwebaze words seems fitting to post on the Mobile Money Tax, as this is discriminating people and making sure they cannot use the technology or digital way of paying bills and such. However, he don’t want people to resist it. How fitting, when the state have made it to expensive for people to be part of the modern world and have to use old methods to pay their relatives and companies, making sure day to day transactions becomes more costly.

Frank Tumwebaze statement:

Continuous technological advancement will further lead to other digital migrations in the way we conduct business. Let us embrace these technology advancements and not resist. If you resist technology it will disrupt” (New Vision, 2018)

BoU report on the tax after a month:

The 0.5 per cent tax on Mobile Money is discriminative and is likely to affect financial inclusion, officials from Bank of Uganda have said. The officials said this while appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on finance on Wednesday to give their views about mobile money tax. The officials, who also appeared before the committee alongside their counterparts from telecom companies, said mobile money transactions declined by 672bn shillings in the first two weeks of implementing the mobile money tax” (Tusingwire, 2018).

I am not surprised that the Mobile Money Market is hit and hard. Even if one percentage of tax doesn’t sound much. However, when you had put in on all parts of the transaction plus the other added taxes, the total cost of a transaction is huge. It is eating a lot of the plate for the same services, which has been provided for ages. There are already costs of the transactions to the companies, therefore the public have shunned and also stopped using it. Many even felt they couldn’t afford the usage of it.

That was to be expected. However, the Minister Tumwebaze have made the people resist moving to digital migration, move into the modern day transactions of money and such. That with the Exercise Duty, which was enforced two months ago.

The NRM cannot talk of people embracing technology, when they themselves making people resist or to expensive to use. Maybe, they have to figure out better ways of taxing people. If they want to be fair, because now even the National Bank of Bank of Uganda is saying it is discriminating. That should worry the Minister, but he is just using fashionable words. So he clearly don’t care. Peace.

Reference:

Tusingwire, Serestino – ‘Mobile Money tax discriminative – BoU’ 01.08.2018 link: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Mobile-Money-tax-discriminative-BoU/688334-4692428-137ocmdz/index.html

New Vision – ‘Let us embrace technology advancements’ 01.08.2018 link: https://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1482566/us-embrace-technology-advancements

SONA 2018: Another promise to end the Telecom duopoly, but when?

There is again promise of ending the reign of Globe and Smart in the Telecom business. Theis has been a steady process. Before today’s announcement at the State of the Nation address in Parliament, the Duterte Administration offered the same promise last year, and the Duterte administration has proposed this before. Therefore, this isn’t new, but more about when and who want into the business. First, read the passage of today’s speech concerning the industry, second, seeing the ancient ordeal between the duopoly and third, the DICT proposed third company into the market.

“My administration remains firm in its resolve to ensure that the country’s telecommunications services are reliable, inexpensive and secure. A draft Terms of Reference for the entry of a new, major industry player is at hand. The terms will be fair, reasonable and comprehensive. It will be inclusive so it will be open to all interested private parties, both foreign and local. The only condition is that the chosen entity must provide the best possible services at reasonably accessible prices. However, our efforts to usher in a new major player shall be rendered futile if we do not improve its odds of success in an industry that has long been dominated by a well-entrenched duopoly. We shall, therefore, lower interconnection rates between all industry players. Not only to lessen the cost to the consumers as it will also lower the costs [for the] incoming player to access existing networks, [thereby creating] a market environment that is more conducive to competition. This is a policy which is crucial to ensure that our solution to our telecommunication problems will be both meaningful and lasting. In the last 2 years, experience has taught me that lack of consultation or insufficiency of information can, at times, lead to rash judgments. If and when I am unsure on the most appropriate course of action to take given the problem, it’s factual milieu and the desired end, I never fail to consult to discuss options with persons whom I trust and whose advise I value” (Rodrigo Duterte SONA 2018, 23.07.2018).

Globe Telecom, Inc. was registered in the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1935. It claims to provide mobile and broadband services to 55 million people. The owners of Globe include foreign company Singapore Telecom (SingTel) and Ayala Corporation, with Jaime Zobel de Ayala as the company’s chairman. Smart, meanwhile, is wholly owned by Manuel V. Pangilinan’s Philippine Long Distance Telecommunication (PLDT) Company. It claims more than 68.9 million cellular and broadband subscribers. In his book Colossal Deception, How Foreigners Control our Telecom Sector, journalist Rigoberto D. Tiglao said the biggest controlling stockholder in PLDT is actually Indonesian mogul Anthoni Salim through his HongKong-based company First Pacific, where MVP sits as managing director and chief executive officer” (Reporters Without Borders – ‘PCC scrutinizes Globe, PLDT deal’, 2016).

“As previously reported by CommsUpdate, earlier this month Eliseo Rio, Jr said that the naming of the much anticipated ‘New Major Player’ (NMP) could take place by the end of September or early October this year, barring unforeseen setbacks. DICT published its draft terms of reference (TOR) for the selection of the NMP to challenge dominant players PLDT and Globe Telecom on 26 June. The selection process has been delayed for months – an original March 2018 deadline proved unrealistic – but DICT has now released details on how it plans to assign valuable 3G, 4G and potential 5G mobile frequencies to allow a newcomer to challenge the status quo. Pursuant to the above, DICT held public consultations on 6 July – a process that seemingly concluded that of those that expressed an interest in the selection process, 75% prefer a points-based allocation system, using the HCLoS method. Only 8% of potential bidders preferred the second set of draft rules which entailed auctioning the frequencies with a minimum bid of PHP36.58 billion (USD583.4 million)” (Telegeography – ‘DICT official throws support behind HCLoS to select third telco’ 17.07.2018).

It seems like the Administration is struggling to find someone who will find it profitable and even possible to breach the duopoly at this point. As the Smart and Globe owns the market and shares, they have the infrastructure and the means to control it. Therefore, they are nearly holding the same shares of the market and also the profits from the segments. Surely, many has both, as the black-outs and other forces them to have second sim-cards to secure their communications themselves.

Especially also with the strict ownership rules and regulations in the Philippines, plus the strength that Globe and Smart have, it will be tricky to gain profits at first. There are reports of China Telecom, ZTE from China and also Korean PT&T. But nothing of that is certain at this point and whoever it might be. Will have a challenge.

This will not just be about having a third competitor into the telecom market, but also coming in as a ugly step-child where two companies are ruling all supreme. Unless, they come with cheap and better services from day one and is able to deliver at a rate the other two cannot. Than, it might have a fix, if not it might be a risky investment and sold quickly to either of these. Peace.

NRM Caucus Reportedly Plans to revise Exercise Duty tomorrow on Mobile Money, but not on Social Media!

Earlier in the day suddenly without any forewarning, the Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah sent at the message of postponement of the plenary session from today the 18th July 2018 unto the 19th July 2018. This was not expected, but the 10th Parliament haven’t been business as usual.

The reason came later, as the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Caucus suddenly was summoned to the State House today. This is all of the NRM Members of Parliament, which means the majority of the parliament. As the oppositions and independents are a minority. All of these MPs spent the whole day at the State House. Surely, they we’re made sure to follow the President line on the matter.

This was a meeting on the revision of the newly Exercise Duty, which was put into effect on the 1st July 2018. NTV Uganda reported: “Its expected that the caucus will support the cabinet decision of 0.5% tax on withdrawals, the same position they will support on the floor of parliament” (NTV Uganda, 18.07.2018). NBS TV reported: “According to the Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa, the meeting is intended to reconcile the caucus position on the two taxes. However, some of the NRM legislators who voted against the age limit bill have been blocked from attending the meeting” (NBS Television, 18.07.2018).

The ones not allowed to attend with his royal highness, as they have already proven dissenting voices last year, are these NRM MPs: James Acidiri, Monica Amoding, Norah Bigirwa, Johnson Muyanja Senyonga, Everlyn Chemutai, Hellen Kahunde, Justine Khainza, Gaffa Mbwatekamwa and Henry Kibalya. So these we’re barred from entering the NRM Caucus today. That proves the ironies of the NRM.

The Resistance Movement, has issues with rebels, even as the Movement was forged out of a rebellion. The 1986s of the world is a rare breed. Musevenism must be the most head-up-in-the-ass and lack of soul-searching.

So, if these people doesn’t follow party line tomorrow, everyone should understand. Therefore, the expectation is that the NRM are voting for only one of the third taxes on the Mobile Money. That being only 0,5% on Withdrawal, take away the 1% on receiving, transactions and withdrawals, which it is today. However, there is no change with the Social Media Tax or the OTT Tax of 200 shillings per day. The NRM has no plan of scratching that, they just want to weaken the blow on the consumer and users of the transactions of the money through the Mobile Service.

We can really see, how foolish the NRM Party have become and they all have to bow down for the majesty at the State House. Museveni have to get them in accord.

If the NRM things this was a smooth way… they are wrong, if the NRM things this a way of proving force; They are all wrong. The NRM deserves no credit, they pursuit the taxes on demand by the majesty, they levied it and didn’t due diligence on the taxes either. They we’re just following the possible revenue streams without thinking consequences. The NRM will sell this as a victory, but really it is poor performance. From a ruling regime and ruling party, that is rotten to its core.

If there was any party understanding rebels, this is one of them and they don’t, they are just blindly following Museveni and doing it without consideration of the implications doing so. It makes them look foolish. Peace.

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