Uganda embroiled in internet data, OTT spend debacle
Published on 27th May 2019
Uganda's speaker of the National Assembly Rebecca Kadaga says she will block any attempt by lawmakers to use taxpayers' money to pay for internet data and Over the Top (OTT) services.
This follows a report by the Contracts Committee which recommends that parliament provide at least 5GB monthly data bundles valued at Shs-30 000 for 458 lawmakers and a further Shs-6000 monthly to cover social media tax for OTT services.
Kadaga said lawmakers were capable of paying for the services as part of their legislative duties and warned if there was a contract with a service provider with regards to online and OTT services, it would have to be scrutinised.
"I have seen the document (recommendations) by the Contracts Committee but I don't agree with it. I'm therefore going to investigate.... I don't believe taxpayers should pay members of parliament's taxes."
Robina Nabanja, a member of the Contracts Committee, was quoted by Uganda's Daily monitor newspaper as defending the decision.
He said: "This is purely work ...we are working for Ugandans. For access to social media for parliament business, lawmakers are not supposed to inject their own money since they are doing people's work using iPads bought with taxpayers' money."
In May last year, Uganda approved the social media tax that requires all social media users to pay Shs-200 (US$0.50c) daily to access social media including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram among others.