Tanzania was one of the first East African countries to enact a social media tax bill which it passed into legislation last three weeks, Ugandan parliament followed suit this week by also passing its own the Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill. The Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill includes a tax on social media usage, Ugandans now have to pay money to the government on days that they access social media platforms. Uganda has a population of 41 million people, 23.6 million are mobile phone subscribers and 17 million use the internet, and 2.6 million active mobile Social Media users.
From July 1st, Ugandans will pay a 200 shilling ($0.05, N20) levy per day to use social media platforms, the tax is paid via Ugandans’ mobile networks through various Mobile money platforms.
We are losing money to corruption yet we want to tax the poor who are trying to survive. I don’t want to be part of the parliament that strangles the life out of Ugandans, said Katusabe Godfrey, a legislator from the biggest opposition party in Uganda.
Finance Minister Matia Kasaija of Uganda dismissed the concern of the law limiting freedom saying, “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.”
How to pay the social media tax
Payment for social media, according to a joint statement from three of the leading telecom companies in Uganda, MTN, Airtel, and Africell, can be made via mobile money. This can be done by dialing *185*2*5# for Airtel, and *165*2*5# for MTN. The tax is Shs200 and can be paid daily, weekly (1400), or monthly (6000).
“When I woke up, I was surprised that I had not received any messages on my Whatsapp or messenger. I could not log in to my Twitter account either. This was strange given the fact that I had just bought 10 GB of data two days ago. I was about to call my telecom service provider then I remembered it is July 1, 2018, the day when the government said it would implement social media tax on orders of our President,” Dan Mugeni, one of the active social media users bashing government wrote on his Facebook wall.
Here’s the complete list:
|The complete list of OTT services to be Taxed in Uganda|
|Voxer Walkie Talkie|