Uganda’s government has enforced a plan which taxes Ugandans to cover the damage caused by social media gossip

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The Ugandan Government has been condemned for introducing a tax on people using social media, but critics have argued that such ban is an attack on free speech.

Users of sites including Facebook were warned in March that they would be taxed by Yoweri Museveni, Uganda’s president since 1986.

Mr Museveni had reportedly complained about online gossip in a letter which encouraged the country’s finance minister to levy a tax to address the consequences of social media.

Users in the county are required to pay a daily tax of 200 Ugandan shillings, roughly 4p, in order to access social media – in addition to data fees.

Telecommunications service providers issued a joint statement explaining that the tax would be charged on “over the top services” including Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

According to Sky News, Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, a prominent human rights lawyer in Uganda, said that people in the country were “bitter” with the tax, which “was brought in bad faith”.

“The reasons for it was anti-people, were anti-social, not development-oriented,” Mr Rwakafuuzi said.

The government said it hoped to collect 400bn Ugandan shillings over the course of the financial year through the tax.

Its own figures state that about 40% of Uganda’s 41 million people are active internet users.

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