Published: Sat, June 02, 2018

Uganda imposes tax on social media usage

Uganda imposes tax on social media usage

Users will be charged 200 shillings ($0.0531) per day for services such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

President Yoweri Museveni had pushed for the changes, arguing that social media encouraged gossip.

The new Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill will also impose various other taxes, including a 1% levy on the total value of mobile money transactions - which civil society groups complain will affect poorer Ugandans who rarely use banking services.

The legislation has been objected at raising the public service revenues, said an earlier statement by the finance minister, David Bahati.

"It's meant to curtail the ever increasing central role of social media in political organizing", he said.


The government of Uganda has imposed a tax on using OTT messaging apps, including Skype, Viber and WhatsApp.

The decision was taken by Parliament on Wednesday, because it will come in July.

The new laws are aimed at addressing online abuse that was not covered by laws that predated the proliferation of social media. Though there is no explanation as to why a country would need to block access to social media in order to analyze it, this could be an attempt by these governments to restrict and scrutinize the use of social media.

The move which was confirmed by Matia Kasaija, the Finance Minister is expected to raise between $108,000,000 (Sh400 billion) and $270,000,000 (Sh1.4 trillion) from social media users annually, the government said. Part of the reason as to why the internet usage is low is, as the World Wide Web Foundation notes, that data costs are amongst the world's highest due to "slow internet penetration and limited use even for those connected".

Journalist and activist Lydia Namubiru said that Museveni sees online communication as a threat to his 32-year rule. Let us put more taxes on the consumption of alcohol.

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