Government has heed to the pressure mounted by the general public and accepted to review the new social media and mobile money taxes introduced in the national budget 2018/19.
The move by cabinet comes at the backdrop of immense pressure from social media and mobile money users who have cried foul since the implementation of the new directives 0n 1 July 2018.
The amendment will now see the excise duty on Mobile Money reduced to 0.5% from 1% and only effected on withdraws, although the over the top OTT tax on social media of shs. 200 per day is likely to be maintained with changes in the payment mode.
Information and Communication Technology Minister Frank Tumwebaze presented the amendment to the Media, adding that a time frame was attached to this process to expedite it.
Government projects to collect over shs. 118 billion from the mobile money tax in the financial year.
Meanwhile the move is not likely to solve the challenges raised by the social media users, who also stormed streets in Kampala last week, led by Legislator Robert Kyagulanyi protesting against the same.
Opposition Legislators led by Robert Kyagulanyi have meanwhile vowed to block the social media tax on the committee level, despite the majority number of MP’s by the ruling Party.
Music artists, students’ leaders and other groups have expressed ill feelings about the tax, condemning the state for reaping without sowing.
Musicians including Alexander Bagonza aka Ipas, Hilary Kiyaga aka Hilderman are among those who have vehemently criticized the tax as anti-social.
Musicians and artists are the biggest users of the social media platforms including face book, whats’up, twitter, Instagram and others promoting their products.
Media practitioners are another group that relies more on the platforms, mainly accessed by the youths and a huge population segment of the unemployed and low-income earners whose life entirely depends on the platforms.
Several business ventures are too run on the social media platforms, making it a crucial tool for them to earn.
After the implementation of the tax, scores of Ugandans opted to activate Virtual Private Networks, that enables a user to access the internet through a virtual port, making it hard to be locally tracked.