Social media tax is welcome

Wednesday April 4 2018

 

By Paul Wepukhulu Mutambo

The proposed tax of Shs100 on social media users per day is spot on and I want to commend President Museveni for the move, which is long overdue.

The fact is that Shs100 per day or Shs3,000 per month cannot be felt by the taxpayer. It is also good that the government will be able to generate more than Shs500b per annum from this tax.

We should not stop at Shs100 from the social media platforms alone, we need to find a way of taxing users for other products of this telecommunications companies as Wewole/Morecash, Caller Tune, etc.

It is important to target at least Shs3 trillion in taxes alone from telecom companies because if the government doesn’t wake up and take the money, the telephone operators are already taking it indirectly.

Recently, for example, a family member delayed to repay Shs80,000, which she had borrowed from the Wewole platform of one of the telecom firms. Two months later, the service provider is demanding interest of more than 25 per cent.

This rate is more than what commercial banks charge per annum. Even the micro-finance companies do not charge that high rate. If telecom firms are charging all that and their users are not feeling it, then let half of the interest charged go to government as tax.

The critical point in the President’s proposal is when he blames Finance ministry and URA for not doing enough to come up with new innovations to help generate revenue for the national economy, which in my view, is wrong. I believe he is blaming the wrong people. I believe it is high time an independent ministry of Innovation and Marketing was created.

This ministry should be tasked to carry out innovations in sectors such as tourism and agriculture, among others. You may not even get worried of funding them because if they are marketers, then they should be able to generate money for their operations.

There are many people with great innovations out there. For instance, in 2012, I innovated a very good infrastructural project involving a fly over on the railway line from Mukono to Bulenga. I travelled many times and made a series of prensentations with key stakeholders, including China Development Bank, China Railway 16 and Exim Bank in Beijing that were desirous of funding the project to a tune of $1 billion.

One of the ingredients in convincing these international stakeholders to accept to finance the project was my proposal to government to charge Shs1,000 on every bank transaction be it a cash or cheque deposit or withdraws, etc.

Paul Wepukhulu Mutambo,
[email protected]

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