By Ruth Sierra
A new amendment of the excise duty tax bill on taxes imposed on both social and mobile money is due next week in parliament following protests from the public as tear gas and live bullets rocked Kampala.
Journalists, artists, business men, students and other activists raided the streets of Kampala yesterday dressed in red protesting against the taxes imposed on social media and mobile money amidst live bullets and teargas from the police.
These taxes which were imposed effective 1st July have been always criticized by the public. The concerns were followed by a release of a statement from President Museveni which he shared via social media in which he said, “The 1% was a miscommunication. The actual figure was 0.5%, half of one percent.” This was to apply on mobile money taxes. He rather referred to social media as a “luxury.”
The demonstration was followed by, a session of the parliament which resumed from its 3 weeks recess period. The Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda announced plans by government to propose an amendment to the Excise Duty (Amendment) Act 2018, “Government is now reviewing the taxes, taking into account the concern of the public,” said Rugunda.
Speaker Kadagga directed Finance Minister Matia Kasaija to apologize to parliament as he was reluctant to consider business from his Ministry. The speaker also tasked the Prime Minister to explain whether Ugandans will keep paying the taxes during the 7 days period.
MP Cecilia Ogwal inquired about the money that had been; “May we know where the money is being kept and how much has been collected so far…you must return the money that has been collected from the people,” Other MPs like Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi want the entire act to be scrapped off.