FOOT ON GAS: Museveni summons NRM MPs to State House over mobile money tax, ‘sharpshooters’

FOOT ON GAS: Museveni summons NRM MPs to State House over mobile money tax, ‘sharpshooters’
Eazzy Banking

NRM Members of Parliament are expected to meet at State House Entebbe today, with the amendments on Mobile Money tax announced yesterday expected to feature on the agenda.

President Museveni summoned the NRM MPs yesterday, just as finance Minister for Planning David Bahati announced that government had amended the tax on all mobile money transactions, from 1% to 0.5% to be charged only on withdrawals.

The development is expected to be a major part of the NRM Parliamentary Caucus meeting today, ahead of government tabling the amendments in Parliament probably on Thursday.

Also expected to feature in the discussion today is the proposal by President Yoweri Museveni for the procurement of armoured escort vehicles and sharp shooters for MPs as a security measure.

The directive is given in a letter dated June 29, 2018, to minister of Finance Matia Kasaija. The president’s letter which has been provided to all 456 MPs in their pigeon halls says that members of parliament have been singled out for intimidation and possible attack and that he has decided to protect the MPs as the country awaits putting in place other security systems.

It also follows an outcry from a section of legislators for additional security following an increase in cases of kidnaps and murders of women in Wakiso and Entebbe, Muslim clerics, and a number of other prominent people over the last two years.

The latest was the assassination of Ibrahim Abiriga, the former Arua municipality MP last month. Abiriga, one of the architects of the constitutional amendment to remove the cap on the presidential age, was shot alongside his brother cum bodyguard Saidi Buga Kongo near his home in Kawanda, Wakiso district.

Following these measures presented before parliament recently, MPs separately met Museveni on June 28 and voiced reservations about police guards from the Counter-Terrorism and requested to be provided with army escorts.

“Members of parliament already have some police guards. Those will stay with them. I will, however, add two other elements: the sharpshooters of the army and follow pickups that will be used by these sharpshooters. The pick-ups will be protected, in simple ways, against small arms bullets. I can assure you, they will not be interesting targets for terrorists using Kalashnikovs,” Museveni said.

He added that the sharpshooters and the police bodyguards should get personal body armour and helmets that are bullet resistant.

“I, therefore, direct you to immediately acquire a fleet of new 4 wheel drive pick-ups with open carriage beds. Provide additional money for these vehicles quickly. The army will use them to guard the members of parliament,” the letter reads.

The president adds that when the new systems are put in place, the vehicles will be given to army officers as part of the fleet of the UPDF.

“When the systems are installed, we shall do away with the individualized security which is really a waste of resources – financial and manpower. Act fast and I expect speed,” he concluded.

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