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Ugandan PM says gov't to review social media, mobile money tax

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Ugandan PM says gov't to review social media, mobile money tax

12 July 2018 Thursday 15:42
Ugandan PM says gov't to review social media, mobile money tax

KAMPALA

Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda on Wednesday said the government is going to review the recently imposed social media and mobile money tax after a public outcry over the last several days.

Rugunda told Parliament that the government will next week present an amendment to the Excise Duty Act 2018, which imposes a daily fee of 200 shillings (0.05 U.S. dollars) for social media use and 0.5 percent excise duty on mobile money transactions.

"The president (Yoweri Museveni) has considered the public concerns and proposed that a bill on the said tax is discussed in Parliament next week on Thursday," said Rugunda.

"The government will present a statement (amendment) and honorable members will be able to debate and take considerations," he said.

Robert Kyagulanyi, a legislator and popular musician, told parliament that the Over-The-Top (OTT) tax dubbed 'social media tax' has limited the youth from accessing the different social media platforms.

Cecilia Ogwal, an opposition legislator, asked the government to refund the taxes to people who paid since they were imposed starting July 1.

The police on Wednesday fired teargas and live bullets in the air to disperse surging crowds of people who were protesting the new taxes in the capital, Kampala.

Activists who include opposition legislators, artists, bloggers, media practitioners and civil society say the taxes are unfair, costly and limit people's individual freedom of expression.

The government said it imposed the taxes to increase domestic budget financing instead of depending on foreign aid which is becoming expensive.

Xinhua

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