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Parliament Completes Scrutiny of Mobile Money Tax Amendment Bill

After a month, scrutinising the bill and interacting with different stakeholders, the finance committee is compiling the report before it can be read in the house.
A logo opposing the tax on mobile money
The parliamentary committee on finance has completed scrutinizing the Excise Duty Amendment Bill No 2 that seeks to amend the 1% tax on all mobile money transactions.

The tax which became effective on 1st July drew uproar from mobile money subscribers and dealers prompting a proposal from the government to have it reduced to 0.5 percent. The tax also drew protests in the city centre, with many demanding for scrapping of the tax. 

The initial proposal of the tax meant that a customer was charged for sending, receiving, withdrawing and depositing money in a mobile money transaction.

The Excise duty (amendment) no 2 bill 2018 was, however, read for the first time on floor of parliament and sent to the finance committee for scrutiny.

Now after a month, scrutinising the bill and interacting with different stakeholders, the committee is compiling the report before it can be read in the house.

According to the Finance Committee Chairperson Henry Musasizi, who declined to reveal details of the report says that scrutiny of the bill went on well.

The committee interacted with various stakeholders who include the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Bank of Uganda, Uganda Bankers Association, Mobile Money dealers and vendors, telecom companies, civil society organisations, youths and traders among others.

During the interaction with telecom companies, the companies called for government to scrap the tax saying it is killing the mobile money business. They argued that they had so far incurred a decline in transaction volumes of up to 700 billion shillings.

Uganda Bankers Association also said that the tax was discriminatory and affecting the rural people whose major transactions are on mobile money. The Private Sector on its part asked the committee to review the bill but make a detail study which can then inform the set tax.

In an earlier interview Musasizi, said that they need to find a balance between those who want 1%, 0.5% and those who want the tax scrapped.

Once the report is finalised, it will be returned to parliament for the second reading and then debated by parliament.

The bill is then presented for the third reading before parliament takes a final decision.