National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U) has revealed that government is set to move a proposal to remove taxes on smartphones.
While appearing before the Committee on ICT to present their Budget Framework Paper for FY 2018/19, James Saaka, Executive Director, NITA-U said that the Ministry of ICT & National Guidance will soon bring a proposal to cabinet to remove taxes on smartphones in a bid to increase accessibility.
“Of the 25m subscribers we have in the country, only about 4m smartphones are available because they are expensive and yet we are moving much things online so that instead of coming to offices, people use their smartphones. If those devices are not affordable then we are hitting ourselves on the foot. So we need to remove taxes on the smartphones so that they are affordable,” Saaka said.
Saaka said that the proposal being a policy issue will be handled by the ICT ministry, adding that NITA-U has already given the ministry their input on the same.
Currently, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) levies VAT of 18% and Excise Duty of about 12% on goods like phones.
“If you take off VAT and Excise Duty then a smartphone that costs about Shs200,000 or Shs300,000 will even be cheaper and that is what we want,” Saaka said.
On the other hand, the Authority also told the committee that the ICT ministry is drafting a bill titled- IT Professionals Bill to regulate professionals and curb quack IT specialists or hackers.
“Auditors, doctors, accountants, lawyers etc are all regulated, but the IT people are not regulated. We have so many cases of fraud in IT and we can’t even stop them. People get contracts to do ICT and they don’t deliver them, but you can’t sue them,” he said.