by Tonny Akankwatsa
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga is in contradiction with the parliamentary committee over payment of the ‘Top-OTT’ tax.
The parliament is to spend UGX 16.5 million monthly catering for internet and ‘over the top’ (OTT) services for about 460 legislators.
Besides social media tax, honorables are seeking for provision of 5GB data bundles for each at Shillings 30,000 each.
This means parliament will spend Shillings 197.8M annually on social media tax and the data bundles. MTN Uganda Limited emerged the best bidder.
Airtel Uganda and Africell Uganda were eliminated in the preliminary stages of the restricted domestic bidding process.
However, the Speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga says she doesn’t agree with for the public to pay OTT for MPs.
Addressing journalists at parliament, May 16, Kadaga promised to find out those behind the decision and scrutinize the contract. Perhaps, she is not aware of the contract between parliament and MTN to provide these internet services under such circumstances.
“I haven’t seen the agreement but I don’t believe that the public should pay OTT MPs, I don’t support it,” Kadaga lamented.
She also notified to “investigate who took that decision” and if there is a contract, “we will have scrutinize it because I don’t believe tax payers should pay should pay MPs’ taxes, that is our duty as MPs,” she explained.
Kadaga’s statement come a day after Robinah Nabanja, a member of the parliamentary commission defended the decision to pay OTT and provide data bundles for the legislators.
Nabanja said it was okay for parliament to pay for the tax since the Ipads the MPs use belong to parliament and they use them for official work.
In addition, Peter Ogwang, the Commissioner in charge of Finance in the parliamentary Commission also defended the decision, saying just like Parliament buys internet for its computers in the house they are also extending that service to pay the OTT tax for the MPs ipads and not their private phones.
The public is castigating legislators of selfishness and failure to take concern of civilians regards contract between MTN and the house committee. It should be noted that the parliament approved the social media tax on social media user in Uganda to pay Shillings 200 to access platforms; Facebook, twitter and Instagram on May 30th last year.