The Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament has opposed the decision by Parliament’s Contracts Committee to award contract to MTN Uganda to supply Over the Top Services (OTT) for MPs.
Rebecca Kadaga made the remarks today during a meeting with journalists at Parliament.
She said her office shall scrutunise the contract, arguing that MPs should be in position to pay for the services as part of their legislative duties.
“I am glad you are saying it is contracts Committee, I haven’t seen the agreement but I don’t believe that the public should pay OTT for MPs. I don’t support it,” Kadaga told journalists.
She added: “I don’t agree with that decision and I am going to investigate who took that decision and if there is a contract, we will have to scriutunise it because I don’t believe tax payers should pay MPs taxes; that is our duty as MPs to pay because we are carrying out our duties.”
However, her position is contrary to that of Parliament’s Director of Communication and Public Affairs, Chris Obore, who took to his twitter handle defending the Parliament’s decision to pay OTT for MPs.
“Parliament provides MPs iPads for official use. Once their term expires, they return these iPads or pay for them if they want to own. It’s these iPads that parliament is providing data through MTN. It’s not on MPs personal phones,” Obore twitted.
News of Parliament awarding a contract to MTN was met with backlash from the public after it emerged that the Parliament had awarded the Telecom giants MTN Uganda Limited a contract to supply to each of the 458MPs 5GB of data monthly at Shs30,000 as well as monthly OTT of Shs6000 bringing the total to Shs16,488,000 monthly and Shs197,856,000 annually.
This contract award comes more than 8 months after MPs passed the Social Media Tax amidst public outcry and anger.
The Tax was first suggested by President Yoweri Museveni in a letter to the ministry of Finance and was later passed by parliament in the excise duty amendment alongside a tax on Mobile Money Transactions.
There was resistance to the Tax including protests on the streets led by Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi.
A court challenge to the tax has not yet been heard, and some sections of the challenge have since been overtaken by events.