The Ministry of Finance has turned its back on an earlier directive by President Museveni to refund mobile money tax for those that were affected while the levy stood at 1 per cent.
According to the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Keith Muhakanizi, whoever has been warming up for the refund of the difference collected during the 1% levy should ‘water down their appetite’.
Muhakanizi’s statements came during the event to announce Quarter Two cash releases for financial year 2018/19, in Kampala.
Museveni on July 12 promised that those who had earlier been taxed 1% for transacting on the mobile money platform shall be refunded once the law has been amended and the figure is reduced to 0.5%.
“I signed the law with the error because we could not delay the other measures. However, Parliament, when it reconvenes, will be requested to correct it. The ones whose deductions had been made on the basis of 1% should have their money reimbursed,” Museveni said.
This week, legislators in the House voted to reduce and keep the Mobile Money tax at 0.5%, which automatically qualifies Museveni’s promise.
However, Muhakanizi insists that the money that was collected earlier was spent legally thus the refund doesn’t stand.
“So you are expecting money, but we have already spent it, how will you get it? Policies must be implemented within the frame work of law, 1 percent was collected legally and spent legally, so if you are expecting refund, water down your appetite,” he said.
“Cabinet in its wisdom has gone to parliament to change the law and it will be accented to by the president. We will now collect 0.5% and move forward. Whether there will be a refund or not I cannot say no to the president, what I know is money was collected and spent legally,” he added.
While defending Mobile Monet tax, Museveni claimed that “Mobile money transfers have brought to the surface the big volumes of money that are moving around the country. Each day US$ 52m moves around in the form of mobile money. This is about US$ 19bn a year. Much of this money is by big people; but, of course, some of it is by, economics-wise, small people. Therefore, in an effort to have self-sufficiency in budget, this is a convenient source we should not over- look.”
It should be noted that President Museveni has been traversing the city meeting different youth associations and dishing all manner of cash under the Presidential Ghetto/Youth initiative.
While meeting journalists at the Uganda media centre a month after the introduction of the Mobile Money tax, state minister for finance claimed that the government had already raised Shs5b in revenue.