Most MPs in the house yesterday rejected the 0.5% tax on Mobile Money withdrawals, which had been recommended by the parliamentary committee on Finance. Members instead backed the minority report that recommends scrapping of the tax in the amendment of the Exercise Duty Bill 2018.
The finance committee was in July tasked by the speaker of Parliament with re-examining the Bill, after it was rejected President Yoweri Museveni when the house first passed it imposing 1% tax on Mobile Money transactions, such as withdraws, depositing and sending.
In the committee’s report to the house yesterday, Henry Musasizi, the chairperson, indicated that they supported the reduction of tax on Mobile Money transactions from the initial 1% to 0.5 % as was proposed by President Museveni.
However, after presentation of the two reports (majority and minority), Butambala county MP Muwanga Kivumbi moved a motion that the house adopts a minority report, which called for zero tax on Mobile Money transactions as proposed in the minority report. “Given the mood in the house be adopted and majority one be dropped,” Muwanga suggested before deputy speaker Jacob Oulanyah who was chairing the session, put the matter to vote.
Presenting the minority report signed by MPs on the committee, Patrick Isiagi (Kachumbala) implored the house to support the minority report by amending the bill to scrap the tax. “Even 0% is bad enough. The entire provision should be deleted from the Bill. Members, we should drop everything. The first attempt was to test the depth of the river with one leg; we should not make a mistake of putting in the second one. It is only Uganda and poor Zimbabwe imposing this tax,” Isiagi said amid applause from MPs.
Ndorwa East MP Winfred Niwagaba proposed that the bill be amended to include a clause for total deletion of the clause on 1% and that of 0.5 % tax. The MPs also proposed that voting be done by show of hands for clarity and proper accountability. However, before the could go any further, lands minister Betty Amongi inquired whether the House had the required number of MPs to process the Bill. It is at this point that Oulanyah suspended the house for 15 minutes to allow MPs into the chambers after the first count showed that there were only 97 MPs present out of the required 164 MPs. After the break Oulanyah suspended the house till next week Tuesday.