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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.

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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)

PRAU – Statement: Public Relations is not about Distorting Reality – Clarification on H.E. The President of Uganda’s Address to the Nation on 9th September 2018 (11.09.2018)

President Museveni has apparently hired a Spin-the-News Social Media Team!

There is now a leaked draft list of people circulating online, where there are known people who will be working for the President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. Whose job is spin the news and ensure the agenda is spread as he wishes, as the Minister of ICT and Communications Frank Tumbewaze and the Uganda Media Centre Ofwono Opondo cannot handle themselves, that is why more people are put on board.

There are certain individuals who are hired to directly spread their “news” on Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook and so on. There is even one man hired to run the GCIC, which is Simon Peter Olara, who will spread the handpicked messages there. The man on conventional social media like Facebook and Twitter, who will manage that is Herbert Anderson. On Twitter there are 11 persons who is working there directly, there will be one in-charge of Diaspora and International Media Monitoring, he is Ibrahim Bagaya Kisubi. Radios and TV part of the team are Augustine Otuko. You have a Content Development made by Hussain Hudu. However, the Manager of this team is Duncan Abigaba.

What is important about the Manager of this Media Team, Duncan Abigaba is the Ex-Presidential Assistant-Research & Information. Therefore, he is a loyalist of the President and will make sure the Team is up to dropping the “knowledge” they need. He is a former leader within the NRM Youth League (NRM-YL) as well. So, he has been a voice from within. Abigaba has been until recently, the manager of the Government Citizen Interaction Centre (GCIC). This man has really been in the midst’s of government agenda and spin, as they want.

So, when he becomes the manager of this team, that is partly hiring someone to handle the GCIC and getting the previous Presidential Assistant – Research and Information, are now making a Media Team to spin the news on the Social Media. The place where the President says it is all rumors and gossip. But clearly the President knows the importance of controlling the conservation and spread his message. That is why the state already controls the Vision Group and Uganda Broadcasting Company (UBC). This wouldn’t matter, if the President didn’t want set the agenda and not have the media looking into the facts.

This is to secure his message using a loyal man Abigaba to do this. The former leader of GCIC and NRM Youth League will ensure the message of the government is massaged to the masses. That is the clear message by the state, as they want to steer it and try to spin the news. As the need so many people as part of the Twitter Team, also the leadership of every single Social Media Page like WhatsApp and Facebook, and also Monitor the Diaspora or International Media.

Abigaba will really show his force and his ability as loyalist of the President. We will see if he can put this people up to speed, some calls this a micro-troll-farm for the President. That might be true, but if they will bring news like the GCIC handle, it will be super positive spin who is favor of the President. They will not generate facts and make sure the NRM looks like the golden goose of the world and at large. Peace.

Niger: Front Patrioque – Appel a Participation (07.09.2018)

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

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