Parliament has clarified on the media reports going viral that members of parliament are finding problems paying the newly introduced “Over The Top” (OTT) tax using their iPads.
The matter was was to to the public by Obongi County member of parliament Hon Hassan Kaps Fungaroo during plenary on Thursday.
Usuk County member of parliament Hon Peter Ogwang said that Hon Fungaroo’s concern was the failure by some members of parliament to pay the OTT tax using their iPads due to the restrictive rights reserved by the service provider.
Ogwang said the issue was according to the data contract signed with Parliament far before the introduction of taxes on social media usage in Uganda.
“One tenet of a good tax is inclusiveness. OTT like any other tax should be the responsibility of all Ugandans. The views of one MP doesn’t tantamount to a consensus,” Ogwang stated on Friday.
It is also important to note that legislators are reminded that the house that the Parliamentary Commission has not paid Over the Top (OTT) tax for members of parliament for the last one month.
The tax was passed by parliament in March 2018 and took effect on July 1, 2018. The tax was vemently opposed by members of the public.
Fungaroo revealed that many legislators are not able to use the social media eespecially Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram among others because they are unable to pay the tax.
Manjiya County MP John Baptist Nambeshe suggested that the social media tax be suspended in order to allow the ordinary citizens to enjoy the internet.
The office of the Clerk to Parliament said in a statement that members of parliament should meet the cost of their own OTT tax on their mobile devices.
“MPs are provided iPads by the parliamentary commission to facilitate their legislative duties. In a move to cut expenses incurred on printing bulky reports, statements and other communication, all parliament reports are uploaded on to their iPads. The iPads however remain property of the parliament,” the statement reads in part.
It adds that only the service providers can load the bundle on the members of parliament iPads but not pay for them OTT.
“By the nature of the data contract signed with parliament before the advent of OTT tax, it is only the service provider that can load bundles on the iPads.” The report added.