By Noah Jagwe
The government has been asked to reconsider the numerous taxes levied on telecommunication operators saying failure to do so will stifle the rollout to other Ugandans who have not been yet subscribed to the telecom industry.
“Telecom industry is still the most taxed industry in the country. We now pay 2% of annual levy to the regulator towards development of ICT. There is also 25% debit on importation of airtime paper. So far for any value added we have to pay,” Denis Kakonge, the Airtel –Uganda legal officer said.
He cited the taxes on handsets, gaming, scratch airtime cards and the calls made. Kakonge said the system needs to be revised like it is in other EAC countries.
The remarks were made during the Indian Day parliamentary debate with Uganda’s MPs and various dignitaries from the business community at Victoria Serena at Mutungo yesterday.
While addressing MPs, Kakonge also asked for punitive measures like introduction of a tough law to deter those vandalizing the telecom infrastructure.
(L-R) MP Japan , Emiko Takagai, Secretary of the Indian Parliament, Mamohan Sharma and MP Ghana and member of the population caucus Kwasi Agyemang. This was during the deliberation of the Asian and African members of parliament on capacity development and population at Lake Victoria Serena Wakiso District. Picture by Wilfred Sanya
He said criminals have dug out the fiber cables, siphon fuel and killing of security guards at upcountry stations which has increased costs on maintenance.
“We want the government to come up with a strict law on vandalizing the infrastructure. This does not only affect us but the entire chain.
In countries like Kenya, telecom infrastructure is protected like government property, the same should be done here and whoever caught should be tried and convicted,” he said.
Kinkizi East MP, Dr Chris Baryomunsi called upon the telecom service providers to cooperate with the ministry of health to design a toll free number to enable those in need of health services such as ambulances access them by a call.
“We want to partner and improve issues of maternal health and HIV/AIDS, the cases are ever increasing. We seriously need such interventions,”Baryomunsi added.