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Ugandan Government Proposes Controversial Tax on Social Media Use


In news seen as alarming by many, the Ugandan government is proposing a tax on the use of social media platforms in what they claim is an effort to curb online gossip and raise national income.

The proposal follows reports from March which indicated that President Yoweri Museveni had penned a letter to the treasury in which he insinuated that idle talk on social media was costing the country heavily in lost time and income. Museveni’s government is now seeking to charge a daily price of 200 Ugandan shillings (roughly 4 pence in Sterling) from all mobile phone subscribers making use of services such as WhatsApp, Viber, Twitter, Facebook, and Skype, among others.

In a statement supporting the proposal, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija told Reuters that the tax plan will help “maintain the security of the country and extend electricity so that you people can enjoy more of social media, more often, more frequently.”

Beginning from July, the new legislation would render telecom companies providing data used for accessing over-the-top (OTT) networks liable for the payment of excise duty on the services. However it is not immediately clear how users would be charged as most internet bundles provide access to such platforms and services as part of the package. In all likelihood, this would simply lead to all mobile internet users being taxed.

As you might expect the proposal has sparked fury among many who see the new legislation as nothing more than an attack on their personal freedoms. However the Ugandan government has a history of such prohibitive actions and the public outrage is unlikely to have much impact, at least as far as I can see.



Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. Currently working as Editor of Social Songbird, he hopes to one day drop that 'aspiring' prefix. Follow him @Songbird_Sam

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Ugandan Government Proposes Controversial Tax on Social Media Use Reviewed by Sam Bonson on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 Rating: 5
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