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EAC CRACKS: URA Blames Tanzania For Failing To Respect East African Community Common Market Protocol Over Fake Sugar Allegations

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URA's Vincent Seruma (C) speaking to the press

 

Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has refuted allegations that banned Kenyan sugar was sneaked into the country.

Addressing the media at their offices at crested towers in Kampala, the assistant commissioner public and corporate affairs URA Vincent Seruma said that on the 19th of May 2018, Kakira sugar works limited expressed interest in exporting 12,000 bags of locally manufactured sugar (600 tons) to the Republic of Tanzania and this shipment was loaded under full supervision of URA customs officials.

Vincent says that the problem was Tanzania decided to Impose 25% excise duty on the sugar which violates the East African community common market protocol. Tanzania later refused this sugar to enter into their country.

“The continuous holding of this shipment at Mwanza despite several engagements to get it released by customs resulted into frustration from Kakira sugar works, the shipping company MV Wankyo as a result also incurred a lot of loses and they decided to return it back to Uganda, right now the process of offloading this shipment at Jinja Pier is being conducted in customs-controlled area under the supervision of URA,” Vincent said.

He added that this is not the first time Tanzania is failing to respect the East African Community common market protocol, “we have written a number of letters to the customs of the Republic of Tanzania but they have failed to respect them, we have now left everything in the hands of the two governments to come to an agreement,” Vincent added.

URA has also refuted allegations that sugar containing Mercury and copper is being imported into the country. URA said Uganda has a lot of sugar  factories that can feed both the local and outside market. Today, one of the local dailies claimed that sugar which was banned in Kenya was sneaked into Uganda and is being sold on Ugandan Market.

 

By Mboowa Nathan

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FULL LIST: Uganda’s Top Tax Payers 2017, Sudhir’s Crane Bank Beats DFCU Bank

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A new list from Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), of Uganda’s top 273 top tax payers in 2017, shows that Crane Bank paid more taxes than DFCU Bank in 2017 despite the fact that DFCU took over Crane Bank in January of that year as over 270 top companies paid over Shs4.2 trillion.

In a list led by telecom giants MTN who paid over Shs430 in taxes, Crane Bank paid taxes worth over Shs33.5 billion while DFCU Bank paid taxes of over Shs26.2 billion, putting Crane Bank in position 24th while the latter in 27th.

It should be remembered that in January 2017, Bank of Uganda (BOU) announced that it had sold Crane Bank to DFCU Bank in a controversial deal worth Shs200 billion after taking over management of Crane Bank in October 2016.

Kampala businessman and majority shareholder in Crane Bank Sudhir Ruparelia later sued BOU and DFCU Bank for illegally taking over his bank. Specifically, Sudhir said BoU took over his Bank, branches and properties, which it handed over to DFCU bank without proper transfers. But BOU through DFCU, has also sued Sudhir and his Meera Investments, accusing him of fraud that reportedly causing Crane Bank a loss of Shs400bn. The case is pending in court.

BOU and DFCU also claimed that a lot of the assets of Crane Bank were bad loans, worth Shs550 billion. They claimed that DFCU inherited Shs800 billion worth of good loans from Crane Bank. But DFCU had invested nothing to get the loans worth 800 billion.

Meanwhile, the central bank claimed then that Crane Bank had non-performing loans (bad loans) worth Shs550 billion and as such claimed they were written off to zero and Sudhir has been asked to pay for all of them. But most of all the so called “bad loans” had collateral, in most cases the best pieces of real estate in Uganda.

However, DFCU Bank would in mid-August 2017 raise eyebrows in the public as it announced half year net profit of Shs114 billion, up from Shs23.3bn in June 2016. Interesting, more than a year after taking over Crane Bank management, DFCU reported a huge profit of Shs127.6 billion in the year that ended on December 31, 2017 compared to Shs46 billion earned in the same period in 2016.

Below is the list of the top tax payers

TAXPAYERNAME  NET URA TAXES
MTN UGANDA LIMITED        430,954,250,306.30
NILE BREWERIES LTD        298,341,136,573.00
UGANDA BREWERIES LTD        191,388,990,619.41
TOTAL UGANDA LIMITED.        190,650,400,408.00
TORORO CEMENT LTD        132,545,878,970.47
CENTURY BOTTLING CO. LTD.        109,671,539,401.50
BUJAGALI ENERGY LIMITED        108,909,445,123.49
STABEX INTERNATIONAL LIMITED          87,654,348,739.42
KAKIRA SUGAR LIMITED          85,879,410,002.59
BIDCO UGANDA LIMITED          80,369,177,937.81
HIMA CEMENT LTD          79,145,220,741.49
STANBIC BANK (U) LTD.          78,955,672,895.50
SUGAR CORPORATION OF UGANDA LIMITED          78,815,251,399.57
CROWN BEVERAGES LIMITED          77,043,945,442.87
NILE ENERGY LIMITED          71,769,071,913.89
UMEME LIMITED          64,949,526,882.01
PETROCITY ENTERPRISES (UGANDA) LIMITED          62,934,706,182.20
KINYARA SUGAR LIMITED          59,619,304,185.58
BAKHRESA GRAIN MILLING UGANDA LIMITED          42,996,596,637.88
GAPCO UGANDA LTD.          40,153,787,333.09
FOL LOGISTICS UGANDA LIMITED          39,330,719,549.24
PETRO UGANDA LIMITED          35,652,077,750.93
CRANE BANK LIMITED          33,537,650,756.54
NISH AUTO LIMITED          30,902,513,087.20
SADOLINS PAINTS (U) LTD          26,287,555,077.01
DFCU BANK LIMITED          26,188,499,102.92
MOGAS UGANDA LIMITED          26,096,552,580.79
ROOFINGS ROLLING MILLS LIMITED          26,081,508,200.50
ATC UGANDA LIMITED          25,665,734,562.30
MOIL (U) LIMITED          24,703,025,484.50
MADHVANI GROUP LIMITED          24,221,994,434.61
UNILEVER UGANDA LIMITED          23,705,238,874.51
QUALITY CHEMICALS LTD          23,656,288,053.00
STEEL AND TUBE INDUSTRIES LIMITED          23,181,921,927.00
ROOFINGS LIMITED          21,525,827,383.62
DIAMOND TRUST BANK UGANDA LIMITED          20,946,738,450.00
JOHAR IMPEX LIMITED          20,927,990,263.00
RWENZORI BOTTLING COMPANY          20,319,986,092.93
KOBIL UGANDA LIMITED          20,208,389,432.00
GURU NANAK  OIL MILLS (U) LTD          19,081,384,459.08
A.K. OILS AND FATS (U) LIMITED          19,052,574,324.00
ORIENT BANK LTD          18,539,340,547.39
ECOBANK UGANDA LIMITED          18,170,454,817.99
TULLOW UGANDA OPERATIONS PTY LIMITED          18,053,944,827.01
EATON TOWERS UGANDA LIMITED          17,693,736,300.91
TOTAL E & P UGANDA B. V.          16,712,216,379.00
LEAF TOBACCO & COMMODITIES (U) LIMITED          16,670,788,251.08
PAN AFRIC IMPEX (U) LIMITED          16,238,795,945.00
BON HOLDINGS LIMITED          15,850,957,648.81
MOVIT PRODUCTS LIMITED          15,620,995,339.75
TPS (UGANDA) LIMITED          15,310,962,578.50
TATA UGANDA LIMITED          15,093,067,131.00
TOSHA (U) LIMITED          14,983,261,848.00
S.W.T. TANNERS LIMITED          14,466,887,466.01
BAJABER MILLERS LIMITED          13,704,346,530.45
LIBYA OIL UGANDA LIMITED          13,689,054,534.43
THE JUBILEE INSURANCE CO LTD          13,346,810,205.01
ROKO CONSTRUCTION LIMITED          13,222,780,559.01
JESA FARM DAIRY LIMITED          12,915,743,189.57
AIG Uganda Limited          12,901,361,767.00
EAST AFRICAN PACKAGING SOLUTIONS          12,839,209,764.16
RILEY PACKAGING (U) LTD          12,797,342,259.43
AFRICA EMS MPANGA LIMITED          12,645,357,451.00
CHINA CIVIL ENGINEERING C/C          12,613,706,571.49
STAR DTV (UGANDA) CO.LIMITED          12,542,466,622.00
MUKWANO INDUSTRIES (U) LTD          12,414,424,237.19
CHIEF DISTILLERIES UGANDA LIMITED          12,390,510,792.50
UAP INSURANCE UGANDA LIMITED          12,177,459,428.00
NILE AGRO INDUSTRIES LIMITED          12,141,484,592.50
INTERNATIONAL  ENERGY TECHNIK (U) LIMITED          12,100,688,558.00
OLYMPIC PETROLEUM U LIMITED          11,811,491,382.20
GAME DISCOUNT WORLD (UGANDA) LIMITED          11,746,391,908.30
GOLF COURSE GROUP LIMITED          11,645,327,651.34
NTAKE BAKERY & COMPANY LTD          11,627,340,991.20
BLUE NILE DISTILLERIES LIMITED          11,363,912,722.83
COMPUTER POINT (U) LTD          11,295,095,930.59
MASTER GRAIN MILLING LIMITED          10,911,668,786.75
NTAKE BAKERY & COMPANY LTD          10,430,137,266.39
KAMPALA CEMENT CO. LIMITED          10,296,255,724.11
ESKOM UGANDA LIMITED          10,132,915,311.78
THE COOPER MOTOR COPORATION (U) LTD             9,737,815,497.97
GRAPHIC SYSTEMS (U) LIMITED             9,687,772,217.73
KCB BANK UGANDA LIMITED             9,143,420,030.80
MULTIPLE INDUSTRIES LIMITED             9,081,345,553.49
TRANSLINK (U) LTD             9,061,591,542.50
TATA UGANDA LIMITED             9,027,595,954.00
A.K. PLASTICS (U) LTD.             8,998,470,271.50
EUROFLEX LIMITED             8,891,167,178.00
CABLE CORPORATION LTD.             8,840,597,614.00
MM INTERGRATED STEEL MILLS (UGANDA) LIMITED             8,810,826,069.00
DELOITTE UGANDA LIMITED             8,793,410,061.67
BAYPORT FINANCIAL SERVICES UGANDA LIMITED             8,718,006,843.00
SAMEER AGRICULTURE & LIVESTOCK LIMITED             8,487,246,165.00
SHOPRITE CHECKERS UGANDA LIMITED             8,082,163,498.01
IN-LINE PRINT SERVICES LIMITED             7,586,871,306.00
HARED PETROLEUM LIMITED             7,576,510,635.63
BIPLOUS (U) LTD             7,454,374,345.63
MAYUGE SUGAR INDUSTRIES LIMITED             7,444,429,075.62
SECURITY GROUP UGANDA LIMITED             7,425,171,987.62
CITIBANK UGANDA LIMITED             7,276,157,349.07
BANODA PETROLEUM UGANDA LIMITED             7,261,921,762.89
SMILE COMMUNICATIONS UGANDA LIMITED             7,109,577,104.00
HIPPO INDUSTRIES LIMITED             7,098,126,794.00
TRANSPAPER LTD             6,956,626,868.01
MANTRAC (UGANDA) LIMITED             6,945,996,869.50
VISION IMPEX LIMITED             6,944,226,589.01
SPEKE HOTEL (1996) LIMITED             6,941,822,737.50
ENTEBBE HANDLING SERVICES LIMITED             6,911,521,405.50
ENGAANO MILLERS LIMITED             6,863,570,837.00
ELECTRO-MAXX (U) LIMITED             6,785,423,761.63
APPLIANCE WORLD LIMITED             6,771,429,134.40
KENGROW INDUSTRIES LIMITED             6,594,742,437.00
NAKUMATT (UGANDA) LTD             6,520,191,557.61
PRIME GENERAL SUPPLY LIMITED             6,332,017,977.12
RWIMI EP COMPANY LIMITED             6,171,611,156.73
BIYINZIKA POULTRY INTERNATIONAL LIMITED             6,122,921,579.00
FARM ENGINEERING INDUSTRIES LIMITED             6,108,701,245.00
DESBRO UGANDA LIMITED             6,083,823,628.50
APONYE (U) LTD             6,007,402,981.00
HEMA BEVERAGES LIMITED             5,873,757,813.50
PROPERTY SERVICES LIMITED             5,777,788,168.39
BAO CHANG INTERNATIONAL UG.             5,626,011,541.00
EXCEL CONSTRUCTION LTD.             5,534,037,328.55
ABUBAKER TECHNICAL SERVICES             5,430,975,561.00
SOMOCHEM (UGANDA) LIMITED             5,342,835,756.00
AFRICA POLYSACK INDUSTRIES LIMITED             5,312,035,412.00
FOUR STAR BEVERAGES LIMITED             5,308,371,234.68
TEMBO STEELS (U) LIMITED             5,284,279,745.00
ACACIA APARTMENTS LIMITED             5,277,758,887.00
UGANDA CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY             5,271,966,367.50
KYAGALANYI COFFEE LIMITED             5,178,877,450.00
DEMBE TRADING ENTERPRISES LTD             5,161,722,074.00
SERVICE & COMPUTER INDUSTRIES UG             5,144,536,132.40
MEGHA INDUSTRIES (U) LTD.             4,986,313,339.99
BRIGADE DISTILLERIES LIMITED             4,874,594,574.90
DHL SUPPLY CHAIN INTERNATIONAL LIMITED             4,856,588,937.54
IMPERIAL BANK (UGANDA)LIMITED             4,845,299,176.23
COMPUSCAN CRB LTD             4,833,190,891.83
UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA (UGANDA) LIMITED             4,830,804,506.83
UGANDA BATTERIES LIMITED             4,811,546,608.01
AHMED RAZA FOODS INDUSTRIES LIMITED             4,783,809,918.00
SARACEN (U) LIMITED             4,739,891,549.01
DERMA INTERNATIONAL LIMITED             4,714,161,853.00
TASCO INDUSTRIES LIMITED             4,647,431,013.01
DEMBE TRADING ENTERPRISES LTD             4,534,850,957.23
GOMBA FISHING INDUSTRIES LIMITED             4,526,722,112.57
SOLITON TELMEC U LIMITED             4,526,285,826.12
UGANDA BAATI LTD             4,452,555,256.00
GENTEX ENTERPRISES LTD.             4,405,901,824.00
NILE PLYWOODS (U) LTD.             4,250,395,898.00
AUROMEERA INDUSTRIES LIMITED             4,240,100,387.00
GRAND VICTORIA LIMITED             4,164,917,566.78
UNGA MILLERS (U) LIMITED             4,149,598,671.01
AQUVA INTERNATIONAL LIMITED             4,096,546,075.00
UNISTRONG INVESTMENT (U) LIMITED             4,087,228,459.01
KAMULI SUGAR LIMITED             4,084,734,713.00
BATA SHOE CO. UGANDA LIMITED             4,056,233,424.96
CAR & GENERAL (UGANDA) LTD.             4,054,437,213.19
ERNST AND YOUNG             4,044,202,238.40
SUGAR AND ALLIED INDUSTRIES LTD             4,040,297,966.01
DRD CONSTRUCTION & ENGIN.             3,987,903,501.00
NILE FIBREBOARD LTD             3,984,530,228.00
TILE CENTRE LTD.             3,930,356,573.43
SHREEJI STATIONERS 2009 (U) LIMITED             3,904,104,708.50
NICE HOUSE OF PLASTICS LIMITED             3,886,801,791.50
SKENYA MOTORS (U) LIMITED             3,716,899,144.51
FORTUNA LIMITED             3,597,364,461.46
YUVRAJ INTERNATIONAL (U) LTD             3,568,425,737.01
VERMA CO. LIMITED             3,567,851,011.01
GENERAL LUBE OIL LIMITED             3,565,312,708.00
KING ALBERT DISTILLERS LTD             3,501,093,783.70
RAINBOW INT. SCH (2003) LIMITED             3,490,930,472.50
INDO-BALI DISTRIBUTORS LIMITED             3,462,732,662.39
PANYAHULULU COMPANY LIMITED             3,439,602,172.00
LAKE VICTORIA HOTEL LIMITED             3,411,184,822.19
DOTT SERVICES LIMITED             3,404,298,033.50
CAVENDISH UNIVERSITY UGANDA             3,403,731,986.20
PRAMUKH STEEL LIMITED             3,359,816,852.00
ZPEB UGANDA CO. LIMITED             3,356,327,849.00
MT. ELGON MILLERS LIMITED             3,329,629,452.00
LANDY INDUSTRIES LIMITED             3,324,095,777.50
A.K. TRANSPORTERS LTD.             3,312,811,409.00
GEMS EDUCATION UGANDA LIMITED             3,311,658,936.23
ZTE  UGANDA LIMITED             3,307,418,974.01
CIVICON LIMITED             3,299,633,648.00
SCD (UGANDA) LIMITED             3,265,807,593.12
KIFARU CHEMICALS LIMITED             3,249,675,193.00
NC BANK UGANDA LIMITED             3,197,056,219.20
UGACHICK POULTRY BREEDERS LTD             3,172,869,335.01
CEMENTERS LIMITED             3,161,772,966.00
AFRICA FUELS AND LUBRICANTS LIMITED             3,152,929,452.00
QUALITY GAS LTD             3,095,032,314.11
SOUTHERN RANGE NYANZA LIMITED             3,054,367,161.50
PEARL DEVELOPMENT GROUP LIMITED             3,051,541,698.00
SUNBELT TEXTILES COMPANY LIMITED             3,026,493,937.50
YOGI STEELS LIMITED             2,990,946,919.01
AMBITIOUS CONSTRUCTION CO. LTD.             2,982,065,755.00
UGAFODE MICROFINANCE LIMITED             2,956,077,489.01
ARROW CENTRE (U) LTD             2,937,570,851.00
MUKWANO ENTERPRISES LTD.             2,907,105,070.11
AIR SERV LIMITED             2,896,804,760.00
MEERA INVESTMENTS LIMITED             2,886,138,088.07
THE NEW FOREST COMPANY LIMITED             2,882,376,114.01
JAPAN AUTO TRADERS (UGANDA) LIMITED             2,881,645,516.84
AMKE GLOBAL INVESTMENTS LIMITED             2,849,041,806.58
SUMADHURA TECHNOLOGIES LTD             2,828,798,577.73
TUF FOAM (U) LTD             2,818,134,698.00
ECOBANK UGANDA LIMITED             2,816,040,129.00
UGANDA BRILLANT PILE INDUSTRIAL CO.LTD             2,813,184,831.01
HYDROMAX LIMITED             2,789,974,969.62
MOUNT MERU MILLERS UGANDA LIMITED             2,724,535,690.11
MAGNET CONSTRUCTION COMPANY LIMITED             2,715,859,968.59
ENVIROSERV UGANDA LIMITED             2,705,211,865.02
BIYINZIKA POULTRY INTERNATIONAL             2,684,018,555.00
AFYA LIMITED             2,655,229,324.50
ACHELIS UGANDA LIMITED             2,649,738,348.50
ALFIL MILLERS UGANDA LTD             2,649,126,821.00
IBERO (U) LTD             2,647,717,327.00
TIGHT SECURITY LIMITED             2,567,548,043.00
NANJING EXEC RESTAURANT & MOTEL             2,560,655,198.00
MCLEOD RUSSEL UGANDA LIMITED             2,558,494,608.95
TECH MAHINDRA LIMITED             2,556,534,474.01
XING XING FURNITURE (U) LIMITED             2,535,134,494.00
PICFARE INDUSTRIES LTD.             2,530,781,991.00
MITSUMI COMPUTER GARAGE LIMITED             2,513,607,197.00
KINGS INVESTMENTS (U) LIMITED             2,500,092,289.39
CREST FOAM LTD             2,485,553,229.00
AFROPLAST ENTERPRISES LTD.             2,471,696,800.00
PHOENIX OF UGANDA ASSU. CO             2,457,675,990.00
UMA INDUSTRIES LIMITED             2,432,856,714.01
EPSILON (UGANDA) LIMITED             2,393,040,802.00
MAGANJO GRAIN MILLERS LTD             2,375,526,143.00
STEELWORKS LIMITED             2,369,688,917.00
SOMOTRADE (U) LIMITED             2,347,335,210.00
MERIDIAN TOBACCO CO LTD             2,331,181,169.00
WISPRO (UGANDA) LTD.             2,323,665,049.01
INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL-KAMPALA LIMITED             2,320,019,076.00
CAIRO INTERNATIONAL BANK             2,289,729,489.00
TUSKER MATRESSES UGANDA LIMITED             2,287,343,305.50
G.M. SUGAR LIMITED             2,249,241,985.00
EVEREST DISTRIBUTORS LIMITED             2,237,346,567.99
CHINA GOLDEN ROOSTER STEEL CO. LTD             2,230,367,282.00
HENCHANG PLASTIC (U) COMPANY LIMITED             2,228,748,095.00
SECUREX AGENCIES UGANDA LIMITED             2,218,307,225.01
APA INSURANCE UGANDA LIMITED             2,210,345,221.43
MAKEPASI MATCH LIMITED             2,174,406,988.90
AUDLEY LIMITED             2,149,900,132.43
CHINA HENAN INTERNATIONAL CGCL             2,085,069,724.58
WAZIR AUTO TRADING LIMITED             2,079,419,563.00
HEINEKEN UGANDA LIMITED             2,078,791,326.00
LYDIA HOME TEXTILES (U) LIMITED             2,070,016,055.11
JHY SPARE LIMITED             2,056,617,300.00
KITANDWE ENTERPRISES LIMITED             2,050,838,153.00
ASIATIC SPORTS LIMITED             2,048,461,299.00
MULTIPLE I.C.D. LIMITED             2,028,157,405.00
LAKHANI MOTORS UGANDA LIMITED             2,018,186,836.00
MUZURI INTERNATIONAL (U) LIMITED             2,010,941,114.57
BWENDERO DAIRY FARM LIMITED             2,004,458,814.50
HUDANI MANJI HOLDINGS LIMITED             1,989,591,289.50
MUNYONYO COMMON/W RESORT             1,984,247,810.93
JMK CONCRETE WORKS LIMITED             1,976,515,098.23
MANZI INTERNATIONAL (U) LIMITED             1,976,140,525.50
HOTEL AFRICANA LTD             1,968,526,447.50
BEMUGA FORWARDERS LIMITED             1,961,419,992.00
COMMERCIAL BANK OF AFRICA UGANDA LIMITED             1,952,909,536.00
SAMEER AFRICA (UGANDA) LIMITED             1,926,402,686.01
JESANI CONSTRUCTION LIMITED             1,921,767,389.04
SAI OFFICE SUPPLIES (UG) LTD             1,903,566,380.00
MANSONS UGANDA LIMITED             1,898,804,133.00
KRISHNA CONSTRUCTION COMPANY LIMITED             1,885,166,829.00
HOUSE OF EDEN (U) LIMITED             1,880,496,701.00
PEOPLE PERFORMANCE GROUP ltd             1,865,675,589.11
Total    4,228,999,137,131.62

 

By J. Makumbi

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Airtime Scratch Cards Officially Banned – Minister Explains Why

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The process towards the ban on airtime scratch cards was started when Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and the sector operators informed the public about the plan in March 2018.

Hence forth the sector players agreed to set 31st July 2018 (today) as the deadline for the use of paper air time cards, after carefully evaluating the process necessary to effect the ban.

During today’s plenary, the minister for ICT, Frank Tumwebaze while reading a statement on the ban told members of parliament that several public notices have been running in the mass media to prepare customers for the shift to the electronic recharge system.

Tumwebaze said that consumers can now buy airtime using Easy Load, Mobile money, Me2U, Payway and several other electronic means, and that these services are available across the country in the same outlets that were selling airtime vouchers. He stated that mobile network operators have gradually phased out the distribution of scratch cards and the majority of users are already using E-Top up.

Tumwebaze added that to those clients who are still in possession of scratch cards, they are working out mechanisms to redeem them by 31st July 2018. “Mobile operators have already put in place system to facilitate conversion of any unutilized scratch cards into mobile money. Through this system, no customer will lose money. They will be refunded for any unutilized air time cards,” Tumwebaze said.

He further told parliament that telecom companies are working with their agents and distributors across the country to ensure that there is seamless transition from the old system to the new system.

The proposal to wipe out airtime scratch cards first received some criticism from some MPs. However, the minister reminded parliament of the past killings and crimes committed using mobile phones.

“Hon. Speaker and colleagues, we all remember that early this year, our country experienced an unprecedented surge in the number of crimes committed using mobile phones, including the rampant kidnaps and murders of several women, such as Susan Magara and the Entebbe women. In order to improve the security situation, in March 2018, Cabinet agreed to the streamlining of Sim Card registration processes and an inter-Ministerial Committee of Cabinet involving Internal Affairs, Security and ICT was tasked to engage with Telecom operators with a view of finding solutions to the phone-based security threats.” Tumwebaze said.

He added that several measures were implemented, including requiring all telecom operators to install biometric card readers such that all sim card registrations and sim swaps are done only upon electronic verification of the biometric details of the sim card applicant.

Tumwebaze stated that UCC and the security agencies recommended that vending of air time cards was directly linked to the selling of illegally registered sim cards and would facilitate airtime recharge and top-ups manually without any digital tracing.

“The use of electronic recharge systems was therefore recommended as the most viable and secure option,” Tumwebaze said. It has improved the process of directly tracing vendors/hawkers/stockists and eventually their customers who procure airtime electronically.

Vendors who have been selling scratch cards have been given the opportunity to sell the same airtime in a digital format using an ordinary phone as a tool of trade, and have been duly registered by the telecom operators. There is therefore no inconvenience to anybody since the same people and outlets that were selling the paper scratch cards are the same points of sale for the electronic recharge.

Tumwebaze added that digitization of airtime shall create more job opportunities through formalised distribution, contrary to earlier worries that the process will lead to massive job losses.  It will also improve revenue assurance by Government, since with the electronic system, URA can determine the amount of Airtime sold by Telecom operators and agents and thus rule out any tax under declarations.

Furthermore, the use of electronic recharge systems will protect the public against purchase of fake air time scratch cards intended to defraud unsuspecting members of the public and enhance security measures on telecom related services because there shall be traceability in the entire transaction.

 

By Stella Mugoya

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Government Tables Excise Duty Amendment Act 2018, Amends Mobile Money Tax Only

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Government through the Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija has tabled before Parliament the Excise Duty Amendment No.2 Act, 2018. The amendment comes following a popular resistance of the 1% tax levy that was imposed on all Mobile Money transactions and a Shs200 levy on Social media.

However, since the enactment and implementation of this tax, there has been a lot of public uproar which has pushed government to retract their earlier position and decided to reduce the tax on Mobile Money to 0.5% on only withdraw transactions but maintained the levy on Social media.

These changes by government had to be tabled before Parliament so that legislators and members of the public can debate and have their input on the bill. “An Act to amend the Excise Duty Act, 2014, to limit the taxable mobile money transactions to withdrawal and to reduce the duty payable,” read the bill tabled.

“Mobile Money transaction of withdrawal of cash to 0.5% of the value of the transaction.” The bill was later referred to the relevant committee of Finance by the Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah who was presiding over the house.

The decision was challenged by some members of the opposition who highlighted that the bill has been referred to a committee which has not yet been constituted.

The term of the leaders and members of the Sectoral committees came to end accordingly new members and leaders must be assigned by the government Chief whip and the Leader of Opposition which has not yet been done.

The Deputy opposition whip, Roland Mugume expressed worry that the absence of active committee might delay the process of the bill yet it should have been handled as a matter of urgency.

In his ruling, Oulanyah called on members to be patient since he can’t appoint a special committee to handle the bill but noted that members who will be assigned to the committee of Finance must work expeditiously.

 

By Stella Mugoya

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