Parliament Can't Suspend Mobile Money and Social Media Tax -Kadaga

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has ruled that the Legislature has no capacity to interfere with the implementation of both the Mobile Money and Social Media Tax.
Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga.
The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has said that parliament has no capacity to interfere with the implementation of both the Mobile Money and Social Media Tax.

Kadaga's ruling follows yesterday's demand by a section of Members of Parliament to suspend the implementation of the controversial taxes imposed under the Excise Duty (Amendment) Act, 2018.

The demand followed a statement by Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda who said that the government was expediting a review of the taxes with a view of presenting to parliament an amendment by Thursday, next week.

He said that the government was taking into consideration, the concerns and views of the public on both tax measures and the impact they have on the budget before presenting an amendment.

Kadaga then deferred debate on the controversial taxes saying that she needed to first consult with the legal team on whether Parliament can suspend the implementation of a Parliament Act or not. 

However, on Thursday, Kadaga told MPs that Parliament considered the Excise Duty Amendment Bill and passed it into an Act on 30th May 2018 and was assented to by President Museveni.

"Honourable members, I think we need to reiterate that the Bill was passed into law, it was assented to, so it is a law and we cannot just handle it lightly," said Kadaga.

She also noted the need for government to raise taxes in order to provide the much-needed services to the people but cited a need to strike a balance between the need for revenue and the general good of country. 

"I want to therefore urge the government to move expeditiously and present here the Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill No. 2, 2018. I am prepared to adjourn today's sitting to tomorrow for Parliament to consider this Bill," Kadaga added.

She said that it was in the interest of government to present amendments to the Bill expeditiously.

"What am saying honourable members is that we don't have capacity to interfere in any other way with that law except by bringing an amendment." the Speaker ruled. 

Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa emphasized that government was considering the Bill.

"I want to plead that you allow Cabinet to sit on Monday so that we can present on Thursday as we requested. We cannot present tomorrow but we have taken this matter as very urgent matter that concerns the nation," said Nankabirwa.

She informed parliament that the Finance Minister Matia Kasaija has already worked out his presentation to cabinet about the taxes.

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