Parliament has clarified on the failure by legislators to access social media through their iPads due to the tax recently levied on accessing Over the Top (OTT) services.
This year, Parliament passed the Excise Duty Act which among other things provided for a levying of Shs 200 for daily access to social media and 1% to mobile money transactions.
The tax has since faced a lot of resistance from the general public as well as some legislators and the legislators are the latest victims.
On Thursday, Obongi County MP, Hassan Kaps Fungaro informed the House that members were findinf difficulty in accessing social media platforms on their iPads since they were unable to pay for the daily subscriptions.
Fungaroo thus asked Parliament to intervene and address the matter so that MPs can go on with the smooth running of their business in the House.
The Senior Communications Officer, Moses Bwalatum has come out to correct media reports that earlier stated that legislators were demanding that Parliament pays OTT tax on their behalf.
“It is incorrect for a section of the media to distort the MP’s contribution on the floor yesterday. We want to clarify that it is not that the MPs want Parliament to pay their OTT tax, but want the inaccessibility on their iPads addressed,” Bwalatum noted in a statement he issued.
Bwalatum explained that MPs have their personal phones that they use to communicate including social media for which they pay the OTT tax.
“The MPs are provided iPads by the Parliament Commission to facilitate in their legislative duties which is in line with the move to have a paperless Parliament and the iPads remain the property of Parliament.”
“By the nature of the data contract signed with Parliament before the advent of the OTT tax, it is only the service provider that can load bundles on the MPs’ iPads,” Bwalatum revealed.
He clarified that it is the inability of the MPs to pay for the OTT on their iPads that the MP rose to seek guidance from the House.
“The MP asked Parliament to revisit the terms of the contract to either allow them pay for their OTT or the service provider bears the costs because their restricted access is constraining their work and interactions with constituents and the public”.