Uganda’s lawmakers has passed a controversial law to impose tax on people using social media apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Viber etc.
The tax which is expected to come into effect today, June 1, 2018, imposes a 200 shilling (an equivalent of ₦20) daily levy on people using social media and other messaging apps.
The Uganda parliament introduced a new Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill
to pass the social media tax law in response to the country’s 73years old president Yoweri Museveni’s letter to the country’s treasury which argued that social media encouraged gossip and was costing Uganda time and income.
According to Reuters, Uganda boats about 23.6 million mobile phone subscribers, with about 17 million people or 41 percent of Uganda’s total population connected to the internet.
President Museveni in his letter in March, to Uganda’s Finance Minister Matia Kasija, argued that the revenue accruable from the social media tax would help Uganda “cope with consequences of olugambo (gossiping)”.
Critics has expressed concerns that the law could limit people’s freedom of expression and a way for Museveni to stifle opposition to his government.
Mr Kasaija downplayed concerns that the new law would limit people’s freedom or curtail their 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 social media, more often, more frequently,” he told the press in March.
How the tax law will be implemented is still doubtful, as there seems to be no way the ISP’s are able to identify and monitor internet traffic specific to social media platforms.