Parliament to pay OTT, internet data bundles for MPs

Wednesday May 15 2019

A Member of Parliament using a government

A Member of Parliament using a government issued IPad during one of the committee meetings in April 2014. Parliament is to pay the Over the Top (OTT Tax) and provide monthly internet data bundles for each lawmaker for their Ipad. 


Parliament is to pay the Over the Top (OTT Tax) and provide monthly internet data bundles for each lawmaker.

A document seen by our reporter shows that Parliament will pay the monthly Shs6, 000 for OTT alias social media tax and Shs30,000 for 5GB data bundles for each of the 458 MPs.

This means Parliament will spend about Shs197.8 million annually on social media tax and data bundles.

MTN Uganda Limited emerged the best bidder, according to the bid documents displayed on May 2, 2019.

Airtel Uganda and Africell Uganda were eliminated in the preliminary stages of the restricted domestic bidding process.

Ms Robina Nabanja, the Kakumiro Woman MP and member of the Parliamentary Commission defended the move, saying it is right for the House to pay for the legislator's OTT and provide them internet data since they are doing people’s work on Ipads provided through tax payer’s money.


"This is purely work, we are working for Ugandans. That is why MPs can put data and pay OTT for their personal phones and personal work. But for Parliament business and access to social media for Parliament business, MPs are not supposed to inject in their money," she said.

Attempts to contact Parliament's Department of communications was futile as the Director of Communications, Chris Obore couldn’t be reached by the time of filing this story.

On May 30 last year, Parliament approved the social media tax that requires every social media user in Uganda to pay Shs 200 to browse social media pages such as Facebook, twitter and Instagram, among others.

The tax drew outrage from several Ugandans including a section of MPs who argued that it would curtail access to information.

Other legislators supported the social media tax saying it would generate additional income for government.