The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has urged government to move expeditiously and present amendments to the recently passed Excise Duty (Amendment) Act that introduces taxes on mobile money transactions and social media.

“This bill was passed into law so it should not be handled lightly. There is urgent need to harmonize the existing law as it was passed, along with current demands,” Kadaga said.

The Speaker said this during a plenary sitting on Thursday, 12 July 2018, following the Prime Minister’s commitment to introduce an amendment to the Excise Duty (Amendment) Act 2018.

Quoting Rule 118 of the Rules of Procedure, the Speaker said that an urgent bill may be introduced to the House with publication.

“Where the House determines that a bill is urgent, it may be introduced and copies distributed to Members and taken through all its stages in a day,” she added.

Kadaga also stated that, “alternatively, a private member may introduce an amendment bill for this purpose”.

She however, noted that private members’ bills face challenges of certificates of financial implication, instead, she advised, the Prime Minister and Cabinet could move the amendments.

“We don’t have capacity to intervene in any amendment for now, apart from waiting,” said the Speaker.

Hon. Paul Mwiru (FDC, Jinja East Municipality) raised concern on the one per cent charge on mobile money deposits that was executed by telecom companies following the implementation of the new law, of which deduction had not been accounted for in the amended law.

“URA later clarified that they were not supposed to make that deduction, but the telecom companies had already collected this money from the public,” Hon. Mwiru said.

Kadaga asked MPs to wait for the bill before they can debate the matter, saying all matters raised in relation to it would be discussed in context of the bill upon being brought to Parliament.

The Excise Duty (Amendment) Act 2018 that took effect on July 1 2018, imposed a one percent tax on mobile money transactions, as well as a daily shs200 payment to access Over The Top (OTT) platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram among others.

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