Ugandan lawmakers have voted in favor of maintaining the excise duty amendment bill that imposes a daily social media fee and mobile money tax despite public protests.
A total of 164 lawmakers, mainly from the ruling National Resistance Movement party, voted on Tuesday in favor of maintaining the daily fee of 200 shillings (0.05 U.S. dollars) for social media use and 0.5 percent excise duty on mobile money withdrawals to raise revenue to run government projects.
Meanwhile, 124 lawmakers, mostly from the opposition, voted for the removal of the taxes.
In July, Matia Kasaija, minister of finance planning and economic development, re-tabled the amendment bill to enable the legislators to review it following public concern that the two taxes were prohibitive.
The government said earlier it would not scrap the social media and mobile money taxes despite protests. It however cut the tax charged on mobile money withdrawals to 0.5 percent, down from 1 percent.
Activists want the new taxes, which came into force on July 1, abolished, saying they are unfair, costly, prohibitive and limit people’s individual freedoms.