By Patrick Ocaido
Upper Madi County MP Isaac Etuka Joakino could be the first beneficiary of the Government’s proposal to scrap taxes on smartphones.
This is after MP Etuka shocked fellow committee members when he paraded two huge brick-sized phones that could weigh about half a kilogram each. Etuka was part of the ICT committee meeting which was interacting with officials from National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U) to discuss the Budget Framework Paper FY 2018/19 among other key issues.
During the meeting, Etuka who was moving with a bag shocked members of the committee and NITA-U officials when he dipped his hand in the bag only to pull out two phones that were rampant in the early 1990s. He was seen busy texting on his two phones as MPs and NITA officials looked on in shock. One of his phones is a Binatone phone Combo 3525. The phone that costs about Shs250,000 offers a 10-hour talk time and a 100-hour standby time, and long-range reception.
The other phone he was holding is S16 Hope. Its specifications show that it has a massive long battery life, and can be uses this as a power bank to charge other phones. Such mobile phones with long-lasting batteries are ideal for Etuka who hails from the deep ends of Arua district in West Nile.
Similarly, during the meeting, NITA-U’s ED Saaka told the committee that in a bid to increase accessibility of smartphones, NITA-U in conjunction with the ministry of ICT & National Guidance have agreed to bring a proposal to Parliament to remove taxes on smartphones.
“If those devices are not affordable then we are hitting ourselves on the foot. So, we need to remove taxes on the smartphones so that a common man in Nakapiripirit can afford one,” Saaka said.
If this proposal is adopted then MP Etuka could be one of the direct beneficiaries.