Ugandans to pay Social Media Taxes, President Says


The President of Uganda, Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has announced that son everyone who uses social media platforms namely WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Skype will have to pay some tax.
UGBLIZZ reports that the government is introducing this policy as part of its bid to stop what he termed as ‘lugambo’ (gossip).
Internet users, human rights defenders and opposition leaders have opposed the new tax proposals describing the as “diversionary, deceptive, injurious to individual freedoms and burdensome”.
This latest introduction has been confirmed by the country’s Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija, Secretary to Treasury Keith Muhakanizi and State House officials.
In a letter to Kasaija dated March 12th, President Museveni said he hopes to generate between Sh400 billion and Sh1.4 trillion in taxes from social media users per year.
“I am not going to propose a tax on internet use for educational, research or reference purposes… these must remain free, However, olugambo on social media (opinions, prejudices, insults, friendly chats) and advertisements by Google and I do not know who else must pay tax because we need resources to cope with the consequences of their lugambo.”
“If we were to introduce a small fee of Uganda Sh100 per day from sim-cards that are used by these OTTs, that would generate about Sh400 billion additional revenue.” said Museveni.
Kasaija said the orders in the president’s letter are “a Cabinet directive” and the details will be contained in the new tax bills to Parliament. Mobile service providers led by MTN general manager of corporate service Anthony Katamba said the new taxes would amount to double taxation.
“The data you buy gives you internet. So taxing social media is a taxing content, if government goes ahead to implement the proposed tax, “it would be unprecedented.” Mr Katamba said.



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