The Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has ruled that the August House no powers to stop social media and Mobile money taxes, noting that the House can’t interfere with a law that has already been enacted.
She gave her ruling during a plenary sitting held Thursday afternoon where she told lawmakers that once a Bill becomes law, it can only be changed through an amendment and not a mere directive.
Kadaga says that whereas there is a public outcry, the government should be allowed to make adjustments through the proposed review.
She asked government to expedite on its amendments process or else a private member member’s bill will be granted for discussion.
“I therefore urge Government to move expeditiously and table the Excise Duty Amendment Bill 2018. I therefore urge you to listen to the people of Uganda and bring the proposal to the House. We don’t have capacity to interfere in any way,” Kadaga said.
It should be recalled that on Wednesday, Kadaga suspended debate on the controversial Social Media and Mobile money taxes, on grounds that she needed time to consult her legal team on whether Parliament has the powers to suspend implementation of an Act it has passed and has been assented to by the President.
This was after Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda tabled a statement in which he revealed that Government is in the process of reviewing the Act, and the new amendments set to be tabled on 19th July 2018.
“Government is now reviewing the taxes taking into consideration the concern of the public and its implications for the budget. The review is being expedited to ensure that Government presents an amendment of the Excise Duty Amendment Act 2018 to present to this August House for debate on Thursday next week,” said Rugunda.
In a rather confusing manner, President Yoweri Museveni Thursday evening said taxing of deposits must stop immediately. He also noted that money that had been collocated will be reimbursed.
It should be noted that Parliament passed into law the Excise Duty Amendment Bill 2018 on 30th May 2018 that saw Government slap a 1% tax on all mobile money transactions (sending and receiving) that would see Government generate Shs115bn.
It also imposed Shs200 daily levy on over the top (OTT) social media like WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter that would see Government raise over Shs700bn.