The drama surrounding the proposed UGX 5,000 phone tax by MP Mr Ekanya has just began. This proposal sparked several reactions from social media and the general public. Yesterday the shadow finance minister Geoffrey Ekanya was asked to drop his proposed tax on mobile phones by his fellow opposition cabinet members.
Telecom giant MTN Uganda, also asked the Parliament’s Budget Committee to reject the proposal in the interest of the general.
[signoff predefined=”Quotation” icon=”icon-username”]“The new tax on handsets will discourage people from owning mobile phones and this will obviously have a negative impact on the economy. The sector currently contributes 8 per cent to GDP and with the new tax, this contribution will go down,”[/signoff]
There is no word yet from other telecoms in regards to this issue and MTN has come out to do the right thing adn put consumer first. We hope other telcos will follow.
According to the Daily Monitor, the Shadow minister for Youth Bernard Atiku (Ayivu) said that Mr Ekanya came under pressure during the shadow cabinet’s weekly meeting. And now it has come out that the MP was targeting his proposed tax at smartphones owned by the rich people wonder how they would distinguish between the rich and the poor as if we don’t have students at campus with smartphones.
A BURDENSOME TAX
The Daily monitor further reports that MPs yesterday vowed to block the new phone tax and damned the Budget Committee for agreeing to something they termed as a “burdensome”. Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Mr Wafula Oguttu said
[signoff predefined=”Quotation” icon=”icon-username”]”Slapping the tax on mobile phone owners would burden Ugandans, especially in the rural areas, whose lives and businesses heavily rely on the gadgets. A phone has become a tool for economic empowerment and for people to improve on their lives and businesses. So, we do not want to make it very costly for them. A phone is no longer a luxury. “[/signoff]
Most MPs complained that Mr Ekanya did not consult the shadow cabinet and Mr Atiku had this to say
[signoff predefined=”Quotation” icon=”icon-username”]“We were taken aback by our colleague on the proposals, Even though he explained that his target was on smartphones, we did not buy it. As Opposition, we cannot be the ones who propose such taxes. Our position has been clear, we argue against taxes which may burden the citizens.”[/signoff]