Tension Looms As Museveni Summons All NRM MPs Over Controversial Mobile Money Tax

Finance Minister Maitia Kasaija, URA Boss Doris Akol and President Museveni

President Yoweri Museveni has summoned NRM MPs over the controversial Excise Duty (Amendment) No.2 Bill, 2018 that seeks to amend Excise Duty Act, 2014 to limit the taxable mobile money transactions to withdrawal and to reduce the duty payable from 1% to 0.5%.

According to highly placed sources, Museveni will this afternoon meet the NRM caucus at State House Entebbe to find a common position on the mobile money tax which hit a snag last Thursday after majority of the MPs supported the minority report to completely scrap the tax. The finance committee report recommends that the tax should be reduced from 1% to 0.5%-a position that President Museveni is in compliant.

Museveni is expected to convince the NRM MPs to support the committee report and pass the 0.5% mobile money tax to allow government funds its projects.

Last Thursday, a section of NRM MPs walked out of the chambers after a majority of the MPs supported the minority report to scrap the tax. This prompted Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah to suspend the voting for lack of quorum. While on the floor, Opposition Whip Ibrahim Ssemuju Nganda accused commissioner and Usuk County MP Peter Ogwang of mobilizing NRM MPs to boycott the sitting thus causing the shortage of quorum.

State minister for finance, David Bahati pleaded with the MPs to support the 0.5% recommendation from the committee report on mobile money charge saying that, “this tax is not a punishment, it is an opportunity for all citizens to pay this tax for government to extend the electricity that they need, and build the hospitals that they need.”

Bahati said the GDP of Uganda is Shs101trn and Shs63trn is held by Mobile Money. He says the government only seeks to collect Shs57bn of this lot.

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