By Mulengera Reporters
In order to enable them interact more affordably with their voters, the GoU will be spending Shs16.6m per month to pay the monthly Shs6,000 OTT for each of the more than 450 MPs we have in the 10th Parliament.
In a newly awarded contract, MTN Uganda will also be charging Shs30,000 to provide a monthly data bundle of 5GB for each of the MPs to be wired via the personal iPads government bought for the same legislators years earlier.
With close to 460 MPs in the ever expanding 10th Parliament, this new MTN contract simply means every month the taxpayer will have to part with Shs16.6m to enable each of the MPs enjoy free mobile data and free OTT services.
It simply means whereas the rest of ordinary citizens must sweat to access and use social media, the MPs (who legislated the imposition of the OTT tax) will be enjoying social media without paying anything.
To get the contract MTN had to compete with and overcome Airtel and Africell which too wanted to cash in on the Parliamentary OTT Bonanza.
This new development comes on the heels of a very angry public debate that has seen the President, CSOs and the public unanimously bash the MPs for occasioning renewed burden of Shs63.4bn onto the tax payers to meet the new set of entitlements per MP.
The Shs63.4bn means that each MP will annually earn an additional Shs140m over and above what he/she has been earning prior. It’s insensitivity which even State Finance Minister Gabriel Ajedra condemned during the Tuesday media event at the Finance Ministry board room.
The demand for OTT payment and Mobile data purchase was first mutedly floated by Obongi County MP Kaps Fungaroo in September last year and it has now become a reality. The original idea to offer iPads for MPs was that it was a way of facilitating their legislative duties and save on printing expenses.
Ugandans were promised a paperless legislature that would be more efficient. The iPads themselves controversially cost the taxpayer close to $600,000 (over Shs2bn) but the CSOs noise subsided and life carried on.
At the end of Parliamentary term whoever has Shs500,000 will pay and retain the iPad or surrender it and be given another one at the expiry of the current term (in case of reelection).
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