KAMPALA – The multi-million marriage between Airtel and Parliament has ended unceremoniously with the Legislative body opting for their archrivals, MTN Uganda with the divorce causing disruptions into access to the internet by both MPs and staff to Parliament.
Announcing the divorce was Speaker Rebecca Kadaga during the plenary sitting in which she asked MPs to endure the divorce settlement saying the internet services will be settled after the marriage with MTN blossoms.
Kadaga said; “We have changed the service providers for our internet services, I know that some problems have been met on the internet and accessing Parliamentary documents and emails. This is because there is a change taking place between Airtel and MTN and I hope that in a short time, we will be able to go back to ordinary services.”
In a related development, Speaker officials announced before Parliament that MPs will be paying their Over the Top Services (OTT) after the contract raised a heated debate in public.
The Speaker said, “But I want to reaffirm that OTT will not be paid by Government, you will pay it yourself and I told the clerk to cancel that part of the contract because it was weird, we shall pay our own OTT.”
It should be recalled that the Parliamentary Commission has contracted Telecom giants, MTN Uganda Limited to provide OTT for MPs devices after edging out their business rivals Airtel Uganda and Africell whose bids were rejected at preliminary stages in the procurement process.
According to the breakdown, Shs30,000 will cater for a 5GB monthly bundle and this amount also caters for Value Added Tax as well as Shs6000 OTT tax for each device per month, this bringing the figure to Shs36,000 per each MP and with having 458MPs, it meant that Shs16,488,000 would be paid monthly for each MPs.
Parliament passed into law the Excise Duty Amendment Bill 2018 on 30th May 2018, that saw Government slap Shs200 daily levy on over the top (OTT) social media like WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter that would see Government raise Shs284Bn.