Uganda re-tables social media tax bill after public protest

The Ugandan government on Thursday re-tabled before parliament the social media and mobile money amendment bill following public protest.

Matia Kasaija, minister of finance planning and economic development, tabled the amendment bill to enable the legislators to review it following public concern that the two taxes were prohibitive.

The bill imposes a daily fee of 200 shillings (0.05 U.S. dollars) for social media use and 0.5-percent excise duty on mobile money transactions.

Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanya who presided over parliament referred the bill to the finance committee for quick public consultations.

“This matter will be handled quickly. The House (Parliament) cannot wait for the 45 (mandatory) days.

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“I urge the committee to interact with the people dealing in mobile money and all the other concerned parties so that we can debate this matter conclusively,” he said.

The committee is expected to consult different stakeholders and submit their report before parliament.

The Ugandan government on Tuesday announced that it will not scrap the recently imposed social media and mobile money taxes in spite of protests.

It however reduced the tax charged on mobile money withdrawals to 0.5 per cent from one per cent.

The activists want the new taxes, which came into force on July 1, abolished, claiming they are unfair, costly, prohibitive and limit people’s individual freedoms.

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