Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has defended the country’s new social media tax, saying Ugandans were using such platforms for “lying”, and squandering the nation’s hard currency on fees to foreign-owned telecoms firms.
In May Uganda’s parliament passed new tax laws that introduced a levy of 200 shillings ($0.05) per day for access to a range of online services.
The platforms that have been identified by the country’s revenue service for the tax include Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, YouTube, Skype, Yahoo Messenger and many others.
The tax is an absolute insult to Ugandans…we already buy data which the government taxes, why should we again have to pay this money to government to access these platforms? The tax, collected by mobile phone internet service providers since July 1, is equivalent to about 20 percent of what typical Ugandan users pay for their mobile phone data plans.
In a statement shared on Twitter, Museveni described social media as a “luxury by those who are enjoying themselves or those who are malicious…all the moral reasons are in favour of that tax.”