In the face of numerous criticisms, the government has imposed new taxes on social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Skype and Viber to stop what the president has called lugambo (gossip).
The president also targets commercial buildings to increase the government’s revenue by Shs 50 billion that the tax collects from homeowners each year.
The president criticized the “concealment” of taxes in the housing sector as “scandalous” and asked the finance ministry to be serious.
New tax proposals lashed out by social network users, including human rights defenders and opposition leaders, were confirmed by Finance Minister Kasaija, Treasury Secretary Keith Muhakanizi, and representatives of the State House. .
The proposed tax measures to help the government of Museveni mobilize between 140 and 400 billion shillings of social media users each year were ordered by the president in a letter of 12 March to Finance Minister Matia Kasaija.
I will not propose a tax on the use of the Internet for educational purposes, research or reference … they must remain free. However, blogs on social media (opinions, prejudices, insults, friendly conversations) and Google ads and I do not know who else should pay taxes because we need resources to deal with the consequences of their gossip.
However, the president did not explain how gossip will affect resource mobilization.
And on the issue of so-called “over-the-top” (OTT) platforms such as WhatsApp, Skype, Viber, Twitter, etc., Mr. Museveni wrote, ” If we were to introduce a small fee of 100 Shs per day from SIM cards used by these OTTs, they would generate about 400 billion additional shillings of revenue. ”
He further explained that this estimate is based on the minutes used by Ugandans for OTT and that it does not include calls and data not reported by the telephone companies.