Legal and Judicial Affairs

Lawmakers to review controversial taxes in Uganda

Ugandan lawmakers will on Wednesday review the recently imposed controversial government tax on the use of social media and mobile money transactions.

Parliament's Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Chris Obore said that the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga would present the issue of the controversial excise duty, which imposes a daily fee of 200 shillings (0.05 US Dollars) for social media use. It also contain 0.5 percent duty on mobile money transactions for review.

Planned demonstration

The development comes barely hours as activists plan to hold a demonstration on Wednesday to protest the new taxes.

It is still the duty of Parliament to do it (review excise duty act). It is normal parliamentary business. Once there is consensus in the house then anything can happen (maintained, make amendments or drop the act), Obore said.

Kadaga told a group of university students and mobile money agents who petitioned her office on Monday that due considerations would be taken when the review of the exercise duty starts.

The activists want the new taxes completely abolished as it is allegedly unfair, costly, prohibitive and limits people's individual freedom to express themselves and communicate freely.

Telecommunication companies on July 1 started enforcing the excise duty charge on Over-The-Top services dubbed 'social media tax' and one percent levy on mobile money transactions.

President Yoweri Museveni later clarified that the tax on mobile money was 0.5 percent.

Museveni said the tax issue was still open to discussion.

Domestic budget financing

The government said it imposed the tax to increase domestic budget financing instead of depending on foreign aid which is becoming expensive.

Source: Voice of Nigeria