By Alice Lubwama
The state minister for Lands Persis Namuganza has asked Ugandans to embrace the advantages that will come with mobile money instead of regretting the decision by parliament to create this tax.
Speaking to the journalists at parliament, Namuganza said that since the time Government scrapped graduated tax many Ugandans resorted to begging instead of working a practice that has stagnated the country’s economy.
Namuganza now suggests that the graduated tax be reinstated if people do not want to pay taxes such as mobile money. She has also accused her colleagues in opposition in parliament for trying to make government run into the crisis when they tried to block the mobile tax when it’s one of the items which was planned to fund the national budget.
Out of the 288 MPs present in parliament yesterday, 164 voted in favor of the Excise Duty Amendment Bill No 2, which provides for the 0.5 percent tax instead of the initial 1 percent, while 124 rejected the tax.
Majority of the MPs who rejected this tax also voted against the lifting of the age limit of the president.
By Alice Lubwama
One hundred thirty six members of Parliament have voted in favor of the mobile money tax this afternoon. 237 managed to vote . There was misconduct by MPS when Speaker of parliament announced commencement of voting. The first results were nullified leading to roll calling.
Discontent members of these results like Honorable Paulsen Luttamaguzi says that the NRM legislators were given a 15 million bribe to allow the bill to be passed.
The NRM caucus held a meeting on Monday and asked its members to shun the minority report vote which advocates for the scrapping of the mobile money tax. MPs such as Fred Baseke of Ntenjeru South, Pamela Kamugo, the Budaka Woman MP, Geoffrey Macho of Busia municipality and Walyomu insist they will not support their party position.
Parliament last Thursday suspended the debate citing lack of quorum after majority of the MPs in the House supported the minority report signed by MPs Patrick Isiagi Kachumbala county , Moses Walyomu Kagoma county and Paulsen Luttamaguzi (Nakaseke South).
Government reduced the tax to 0.5% from 1% following a public outcry, mainly the mobile money dealers that the tax had affected their business , they also threatened to close shops if government does not amend the law.
By Moses Kidandi
State minister for finance David Bahati has clarified that the 0.5 % TAX on mobile money will apply to only those that will be receiving money from senders.
Bahati was explaining some of the cabinet decisions following a public out cry protesting the 1 percent tax that was initially passed on all mobile money transactions in the National Budget for the financial year 2018/2019.
ICT minister Frank Tumwebaze has urged the public not to panic parliament is this afternoon also expected to pronounce its self on the same matter that has already been concluded by the cabinet.
The legislators are also expected to deliberate on the two hundred shilling OTT Tax that has been levied on social media.
Last week opposition MPS and activists led by Hon Robert Kyagulanyi of Kyadondo East were involved in a stand off that with Police as they protested the social media tax.
By Sania Babirye
Uganda Revenue Authority and three Tele-communication companies have been dragged in the Kampala high court for allegedly illegally collecting the 1% tax levied on Mobile money deposits .
According to the petitioners John Robert Tukyakira and Anthony Odur, the tax that came into effect since the 1st of july 2018 is unlawful and URA alongside MTN, Airtel and Africell telecommunications companies are collecting the controversial tax illegally and erroneously thereby infringing on the citizen’s fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution.
They also claim the tele-communication companies cannot ably account for the illegally collected money from depositors on behalf of URA.
They are now seeking court to compel the respondents to refund all the collected monies from the public and and also court to issue a permanent injunction stopping URA and the tele-communication companies from collecting the said taxes from Mobile money depositors .
Police in Gulu are investigating a new racket of mobile money fraudsters. According to police, the fraudsters hack into the account of mobile money dealers and steal their float.
James Asubu, the Officer in charge of Crimes at Gulu Central Police Station, says on average he receives three cases of fraudulent transactions each day. Asubu says several mobile money operators have lost millions of Shillings in fraudulent transactions.
He says the fraudsters work in groups and move from place to place to defraud dealers. Asubu faults the dealers for rushing to send cash without receiving anything in return.
Fatuma Nalubega, a mobile phone dealer in Gulu main market is the latest victim of the fraud. According to Nalubega, she lost Shillings 1.5 million to the racket.
Nalubega says the fraudsters tricked her using the identity of her boss to transfer the money on their accounts.
Persons living in Europe now have another digital money transfer platform through which they can send money to mobile phones in Uganda.
The new service by SimbaPay, a London based money transfer provider, allows Ugandans living in the United Kingdom and other European Union countries to remit money to anyone in Uganda using an app.
Transfers made using SimbaPay are credited within seconds to recipients’ mobile money wallets and can be accessed from any Mobile Money agent instantly. The same service has been extended to Ghana.
“This is the perfect Christmas gift to Ghanaians and Ugandans living in Europe who have been asking when SimbaPay will expand coverage to their home countries” Nyasinga Onyancha, the Chief Executive Officer of SimbaPay said in a statement issued this morning.
He adds that by delivering money via existing mobile money wallet services, many recipients who could not access formal financial services can now do so. Uganda has over 20 million Mobile Money subscribers.SimbaPay also delivers mobile money transfers to Nigeria and Kenya.
The Company joins a market already occupied by WorldRemit, whose customers have since April 2016 been able to send international remittances instantly to MTN Mobile Money wallets in Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.
Another App known as wave is used by Ugandans in United States of America to send mobile money to subscribers in East Africa.
There are over 3 million Ugandans in the Diaspora whose remittances increased from USD 411 million (1.4 trillion Shillings) to $915 million (3.2 trillion Shillings) in 2014, according to the 2015/2016 budget speech by finance minister Matia Kasaija.
Most remittances to Uganda from the Eurozone come from the United Kingdom which, according to a 2012 report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), was a source of USD 176 million (630 billion Shillings) that is sent to Uganda.