By Mubiru Ivan

President Yoweri Museveni has finally signed into law the Excise Duty Bill that reduces the Mobile Money tax from 1 per cent to 0.5 per cent.

State Minister for Finance David Bahati confirmed the announcement, saying President Museveni has approved the Bill but acknowledged that telecom companies were still charging one per cent on withdrawals.

Bahati revealed that telecom companies will reduce the charges from one per cent to 0.5 per cent on withdrawals only when the Act is gazetted in the Uganda Gazette.

In May this year, government imposed a one per cent tax on all mobile money transactions, including deposits, transfers and withdrawals. The tax implementation took effect on July 1, the start of the 2018/2019 financial year.

The controversial tax sparked public uproar thus forcing government to present a new bill, the Excise Duty (Amendment)(No.2) Bill, 2018 “to limit the taxable mobile money transactions to withdrawal and reduce the duty payable.”

In July, the President came out to reveal that the actual mobile money tax should be 0.5 per cent.

“The one per cent was a miscommunication. The actual figure was 0.5 per cent, half of one percent. That is what we should debate, concerning mobile money tax,” said Museveni.

In October, Members of Parliament voted to reduce the tax to 0.5 per cent and waited for assent by the President.