KAMPALA: The Speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has said she will rescind the decision by Parliament’s Contracts Committee to award contract to MTN Uganda to supply Over the Top Services (OTT) for MPs, saying the MPs must meet the cost of the service, including paying the tax.
Kadaga made the remarks on Thursday shortly after meeting with members of the Uganda Parliamentary Press Association, an umbrella body for journalists who cover Parliament.
Kadaga says that the widely report move was by Parliaments Contracts Committee and not the Commission which she heads.
She added: I do not support the idea of taxpayers footing the bill of OTT tax for members of parliament,” she later said. I would like to reiterate that I am opposed to this arrangement. And if there is any such arrangement, it will be looked at and corrected. We as MPs should be able to pay our OTT,” she added.
“I am glad you are saying it is contracts Committee, I haven’t seen the agreement but I don’t believe that the public should pay OTT for MPs. I don’t support it,” Kadaga told journalists.
She said: “I don’t agree with that decision and I am going to investigate who took that decision and if there is a contract, we will have to scriutunise it because I don’t believe tax payers should pay MPs taxes; that is our duty as MPs to pay because we are carrying out our duties.”
However, her position is contrary to that of Parliament’s Director of Communication and Public Affairs, Chris Obore, who took to his twitter handle defending the Parliament’s decision to pay OTT for MPs.
“Parliament provides MPs iPads for official use. Once their term expires, they return these iPads or pay for them if they want to own. It’s these iPads that parliament is providing data through MTN. It’s not on MPs personal phones,” Obore twitted.
On Wednesday, Parliament took a decision to spend up to Shs198m, worth of taxpayers’ money to pay internet data and social media tax for the 458 MPs in the 10th Parliament.
The MPs already enjoy free fuel, free medical insurance, free breakfast, free lunch and other benefits.
MTN, in a restricted domestic bid, won the tender with a contract expected to be signed before end of May.
However, notices awarding MTN the contract to pay for MPs data and social media tax have been pulled down from Parliament’s notice boards where they had been pinned