Finally, some good news for the nation after a long time coming. The unpopular OTT (over-the-top) tax that has ravaged Ugandans for several months since last year could meet its end soon according to unconfirmed reports.
A recent news feature shared by Info 256 from Frank K Tumwebaze, a member of parliament and Minister of ICT & National Guidance shaded some light on the current ICT sector and what role the OTT tax plays in the near future.
According to Frank Tumwebaze, he has had the opportunity to engage with many youthful Ugandans concerning the issue of OTT and the high costs of internet in the country and what government has done to mitigate its cost, but with his recent engagement at the African Internet Summit last month, a lot has to be done to make things better.
The MP shared his thoughts on the matter of OTT tax as something that is not good for the ICT sector. He goes ahead to stress how they had advised government against implementing it in the first place.
He goes on to say, “As the ICT sector, OTT is not the best we wish to have in the industry and indeed we advised against it internally. Just like any other sector would wish to see taxes on its industry services and products reduced or removed at all if possible, so would be us in the ICT sector. Not only have we been engaging ministry of finance on OTT but also on others like the need to consider reducing many other taxes on handheld devices that enable broadband penetration.
Ministry of finance also has its mandate of mobilising revenue to again invest in all other sectors ICT inclusive for the delivery of public services. So, it has to be always a balance between the need to raise revenue for delivering public goods and at the same time avoid a hurting tax regime. This is where and why you have Parliament scrutinizing all tax proposals to come up with middle-roader positions.”
The MP stresses the point on how these taxes have only made things worse for the ICT industry inclusive of our sectors and strongly encourages better polices be put in place to source revenue.
Indeed, we agree with Frank Tumwebaze. The government needs to do better and come with better ways of improving the ICT industry rather prevent its growth further. What are your views on the OTT dilemma? Should it be scrapped?
To read more on this story, check out Info 256.
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana is a freelance writer for Newslibre & Spur Magazine. He is passionate about tech, games and occasionally writes about entertainment, lifestyle and so much more.