New proposed taxes on social media send shockwaves
The move is aimed at achieving the double objectives of curtailing ‘lugambo’ (rumormongering) and raising tax revenue, according to the letter seen by Pulse Live Uganda.
President Museveni faults the ministry of finance and Uganda Revenue Authority for failing to identify tax sources and expressed concern on the over dependency on foreign aid to fulfil the country’s obligations.
“I am writing to you to draw attention to the lack of seriousness of your ministry and Uganda Revenue Authority in identifying tax sources and collecting more taxes for our country so as to fulfill our obligations to our people and end borrowing and dependency of aid (giant and projects) outside,” part of the letter addressed to Minister of Finance read.
He believes that introducing a ‘small fee’ of UGX100 on sim-cards using Whatsapp, Skype, Viber, Twitter and Facebook will generate about UGX400bn in additional revenue.
“On the issue of the so called "over-the-top" platforms (OTT), such as Whatsapp, Skype, Viber, Twitter, etc, if we were to introduce a small fee of UGX100 per day from sim-cards that are used by these OTT's, that would generate about UGX400bn additional revenue,” he said.
The proposed ‘small fee’ on social media platforms doesn’t affect some platforms like, Wikipedia and online dictionaries, which the president categorized as ‘educational, research or reference’ purpose platforms.
“I'm not going to propose a tax on internet use for educational research or reference purposes. These remain free,” President Museveni said.
“However, olugambo on social media (opinions, prejudices, insults, friendly chats) and advertisements by Google and I don't know who else must pay taxes because we need resources to cope with the consequences of their lugambo,” he added.
Uganda's external and domestic debt hit $11.2 billion in 2017.