Government Set to Tax Social Media Users from July
The government of Uganda is planning on slamming a new tax on social media users from July to raise revenue.
The move is unlikely to go down well in a country where more than 40 per cent of people use the internet. Data costs in Africa are already among the world’s highest, according to digital advocacy group World Wide Web Foundation.
In a telephone interview, the Finance Minister Matia Kasaija told journalists that the tax would charge each mobile phone-subscriber using platforms such as WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook 200 Ugandan-shillings (0.027 dollars) per day.
He dismissed concerns it could limit people’s use of the internet.
“We’re looking for money to maintain the security of the country and extend electricity so that you people can enjoy more of social media, more often, more frequently,” he said.
Human rights activists begged to differ and some took to social media to criticize the proposal.
“It’s part of a wider attempt to curtail freedoms of expression,” Rosebell Kagumire, a human rights activist and blogger, said.
This is coming after the Ugandan government blocked access to Facebook, Twitter, and Whatsapp during the 2016 general elections in the country.
This new law requires any citizen operating a blog or website to pay an annual license fee of 1 million Tanzanian shillings (440 dollars). ($1 = 3,690 Ugandan shillings, 2,261 Tanzanian shillings) a development that has received stiff opposition from the people as they see it as antithetical to democracy and its ethos.