MPs fail to pay OTT tax on iPads

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Parliament has clarified that legislators are finding problems paying “Over The Top” (OTT) internet tax using their iPads.

The matter was raised by Obongi County MP Hon Hassan Kaps Fungaroo during plenary on Thursday.

His Usuk County counterpart Hon Peter Ogwang‏ says Hon Fungaroo’s concern was the inability of MPs to pay OTT tax using their iPads because of the restrictive rights reserved by the service provider.

This is according to the data contract signed with Parliament even before the advent of the OTT Tax.

“One tenet of a good tax is inclusiveness. OTT like any other tax should be the responsibility of all Ugandans. The views of one MP doesn’t tantamount to a consensus,” Ogwang said on Friday.

Members of Parliament reminded the house that the Parliamentary Commission has not paid Over the Top (OTT) tax for the last one month.

The OTT tax was passed by parliament in July 2018 despite spirited opposition from political activists and civil society organisations.

Fungaroo said that many MPs are not able to access social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp because they are unable to pay the tax.

Manjiya County MP John Baptist Nambeshe suggested that the daily Shs200 and monthly Shs6,000 social media tax be suspended.

The office of the Clerk to Parliament in a statement said MPs pay OTT on their mobile devices although they have no access to the provision that would allow them pay OTT on their iPads.

“MPs are provided iPads by the parliamentary commission to facilitate their legislative duties. In a move to cut expenses incurred on printing bulky reports, statements and other communication, all parliament reports are uploaded on to their iPads. The iPads however remain property of the parliament,” the statement reads in part.

“By the nature of the data contract signed with parliament before the advent of OTT tax, it is only the service provider that can load bundles on the iPads.”

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