Uganda’s social media tax comes into force

2 Jul 18

Uganda’s social media tax has come into force and is expected to raise billions of shillings in revenue for the government.

As of Sunday, users in the African country will have to pay 200 shillings a day (about $0.05) to access some 60 social media platforms, which have been named as ‘over the top’ services.

These services include social media platforms, such as Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and Skype.

Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power for 32 years, told local media that the tax was aimed at dealing with the consequences of online “gossip”.

He had previously said that talk on social media was costing the government much needed time and money.

The government said that this move will bring in more revenue needed to turn the country into a middle-income country by 2020.

If the tax is not paid, the social media services are not available to the consumer, the government said in a public notice.

An estimated 17 million people, 41 % of the population, use the internet in the African country.

It is expected each person will pay $1.5 a month and $19 a year. Millions of people are living on less than $1 a day in Uganda, according to the World Bank.

Frank Tumwebaze, the country’s minister of information technology and communications, said that the tax would also improve internet services.

“If we tax essentials like water, why not social media?” he said.  “This tax will improve connectivity. It is all about connectivity.”

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