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Uganda’s social media users uneasy amid new tax proposal.

By Mitchell Jena, editorial@alleastafrica.com

NAIROBI – The National government of Uganda has hit hard social media platforms operating in the country to help curb the spread of gossip.

In a letter directed to the Finance minister Matia Kasaija,president Yoweri Museveni made the decision against platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Skype and Viber with an aim of raising between Shs400 billion and Shs1.4 trillion from social media users every year.

The presidenst however indicted that an exeption will be given to education and other platforms that are used for research purposes.

“There will be not taxes for platforms that are used fro education and research purposes. This  will remain to be free,” said the President.

Museveni added that the growing negative consequences of gossip through social media advised the decisions he made.

The President also stated that commercial buildings were targeted to boost government revenue.

He called on the finance minister to ensure that there is clarity on how taxes are collected form the housing departments stating that there has been unclear taxation processes in the past.

Yearly, Sh50b is collected as tax from landlords yearly.

The president noted that he proposed the new taxes on social media and housing sectors , which he says, generates a lot of income but is not taxed adequately.

The decision has however stirred different reactions from business person and legislatures in the country.

MTN general manager of corporate service, Anthony Katamba, said that imposing  new taxes on social media platforms is a wayof taxing content that is received by members of the public.

“It is unfair to tax social media because data bought by consumers gives you internet. His is like taxing for content,” Mr Katamba.

According to the general manager, the implementation of the proposed tax will be the first ever in the country.

On his part, the Vice Chancellor of Uganda Technology and Management University, Mr Venansius Baryamureeba, called on the presidents to drop the proposed taxation measure for public interest.

He advised that advised that internet should be made free to ensure clear and interrupted flow of information.

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