Ugandan lawmakers to review social media tax
Ugandan lawmakers will on Wednesday review the recently imposed controversial government tax on the use of social media and mobile money transactions, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Chris Obore, Parliament’s director of communications and public affairs, told Xinhua by telephone that the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, will present the issue of the controversial excise duty, which imposes a daily fee of 200 shillings (0.05 U.S. dollars) for social media use and 0.5 percent duty on mobile money transactions for review.
The development comes barely hours as activists plan to hold a demonstration on Wednesday to protest the new taxes.
“It is still the duty of Parliament to do it (review excise duty act). It is normal parliamentary business. Once there is consensus in the house then anything can happen (maintained, make amendments or drop the act),” said Obore.
Kadaga told a group of university students and mobile money agents who petitioned her office on Monday that due considerations will be taken when the review of the exercise duty starts.
The activists want the new taxes completely abolished as it allegedly unfair, costly, prohibitive and limit on people’s individual freedom to express themselves and communicate freely.
Telecommunication companies on July 1 started enforcing the excise duty charge on Over-The-Top services dubbed ‘social media tax’ and 1 percent levy on mobile money transactions.
President Yoweri Museveni later clarified that the tax on mobile money was 0.5 per cent.
Museveni said the tax issue was still open to discussion.
The government said it imposed the tax to increase domestic budget financing instead of depending on foreign aid which is becoming expensive.