Uganda considers Banning Facebook and Whatsapp over Revenue

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By Nangayi Guyson -nangayi.guyson@alleastafrica.com

Kampala,Uganda –The Ugandan government announced on Sunday that it is considering to impose a ban Facebook and whattsapp in the country if the Multi-Billion dollar Silicon Valley Company doesn’t pay revenue.

The head of the Uganda communication Commission (UCC), Godfrey Mutabaazi said on Sunday that Facebook and whatsapp are getting billions of money from the East African Countries but they are not paying revenue to these countries.

He revealed that Uganda has independently hired experts to assess how much money Facebook and Whattsapp are getting from the Country so that they can tax them and if they are unable to pay the revenue levied against them, then they will be stopped from operating in Uganda.

“We have hired a consultant to help us know how much money Facebook and Whatsapp is making in our country and how much is our Uganda Revenue Authority is getting as revenue or they are taking all the money without leaving anything behind” Godfrey Mutabaazi asked .

He added that “And if we find out that they are not leaving anything behind, then we shall stop them. We are simply saying pay tax to us, Uganda is not going to be the first country to do this, in UAE you cannot make a call using Whatsapp because the country will lose and many other countries have done that. ”

According to the Africa Internet Users, Facebook and 2016 Population Statistics, there are 2.2 million Facebook users in Uganda, 1.5 million are active users (at least check in once a day) and is considerably noted that the majority of the Facebook users, log in using a mobile device.

Facebook and whatsapp are the most used social networking platforms in Uganda. Nationally used by celebrities, musicians, comedians, politicians, organizations, and the rest.

Of late, WhatsApp is winning as most Ugandans especially the “youth” are using it because it’s fast, time saving and convenient. You can communicate to over 256 users with just a single message, all you do is create a group.

The country’s move on Facebook and Whatsapp to pay taxes is the best for the economy of Uganda.

However,  political analysts and critics say the move to ban facebook and whatsapp is aimed at protecting Museveni’s government from uprisings like those ones that happened in the Arab Countries.

This is not the first time Uganda has wanted to ban facebook and whatsapp from the country.

Last year during elections, on the day of presidential elections and swearing-in ceremony, Social media sites including Twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp were blocked in what President Yoweri Museveni said was aimed at stopping people who “tell lies”.

Efforts to get a comment from Facebook was not possible, by press time, they had not responded to our email.

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