164 members of parliament to Uganda were in favor of the controversial tax (0.5%) on mobile money while 124 were against it and wanted the tax removed. The vote was conducted on Tuesday 2nd, October 2018. (Photo Courtesy)
164 members of parliament to Uganda were in favor of the controversial tax (0.5%) on mobile money while 124 were against it and wanted the tax removed. The vote was conducted on Tuesday 2nd, October 2018. (Photo Courtesy)

The Parliament of Uganda, on Tuesday passed the controversial Excise Duty Amendment Bill 2018 that provides the amendment of mobile money tax of the 1% to 0.5% on withdraw transactions.

This was done through a count of votes by raising of hands. In a total of 463 MPs, according online reports, only 288 MPs attended where 164 MPs were in favor of the controversial tax (0.5%) on mobile money while 124 were against it and wanted the tax removed.

Before all this, the 1% levy on mobile money was on all transactions; Depositing, Sending, Making Payments, and Withdrawing, after the bill Excise Duty Amendment Bill was approved in July 2018. After a public outcry, a statement released and signed by H.E the President of Uganda; Yoweri K. Museveni, clarified that the mobile money tax is 0.5% and not 1% and it was mistake that they needed to change.

The President in a statement said, quote, “the 1% was a miscommunication. The actual figure was 0.5%, half of one percent. That is what we should debate, on the mobile money.”

A week later after the President’s statement, Ruhakana Rugunda, Uganda’s Prime Minister, in a letter dated 11th July 2018 stated that the Government was reviewing the taxes taking into consideration the concerns of the public and its implications on the budget. The review was expedited to ensure that Government presents an Amendment of the Excise Duty (Amendment) Act 2018 to parliament for debate on 19th July 2018 where Hon. Members had the opportunity to debate. It’s till now that the levy has been revised to 0.5% on only withdraw transactions.