KAMPALA. In the Budget for the financial year 2018/2019, the government of Uganda announced that it will charge those using over the top services or sites that offer voice and messaging over the internet, 200 shillings daily.
In his letter directing the Uganda Revenue Authority and Ministry of Finance to tax social media, President Museveni argued that most of the people using it are rumour mongers. He, however, promised to exempt those using it for educational purposes.
However what most people have been asking themselves is how the government of Uganda plans to actually implement this tax, and how those using it for educational purposes will be known.
A statement from three of the leading telecom companies in Uganda, MTN Uganda, Airtel, and Africell states how the new social media tax or tax on over the top services will be implemented.
Our reporters have been told to wait for the official statement, however, a source from one of the telecoms has confirmed that the statement is authentic.
In the statement, the telecoms say that effective 1st July 2018 when the new financial year starts, access to over the top services i.e Social media will be blocked, and to access them, Ugandans would have to pay.
Payment, according to the statement, can be made via mobile money *185*2*5# for Airtel, and *165*2*5# for MTN. The tax is 200 shillings and can be paid daily, weekly (1400), or monthly (6000).
Access will then be granted to customers up to midnight.
Civil society organisations have accused the government of trying to stifle debate online with this tax, while others like the Civil society Budget Advocacy group CSBAG, say the tax will have a negative impact on a business.