Uganda Has Imposed a Controversial Social Media Tax 'To Stop Gossip'
The Excise Duty Bill will go into effect in July, but many question how it will be implemented.
In April, it was announced that the Ugandan government planned to impose a controversial social media tax on users who use sites to "gossip." The law has now been passed and the changes will go into effect starting July 1, reports BBC Africa.
The policy will enforce a 200 shilling ($0.05) levy on people using Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Viber. The new amendment will also affect mobile money transactions.
The government claims that the tax will go towards paying off national debt. President Yoweri Museveni, believes it will also help curb gossip.
"We're looking for money to maintain the security of the country and extend electricity so that you people can enjoy more of social media, more often, more frequently," said Uganda's Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, when the bill was first announced.
However, many experts, analysts, and citizens are questioning how the government will monitor social media use and how the tax will be implemented. Many remain critical of the government's decision as they believe it violates free speech.
Uganda-social media tax approved. Uganda's parliament today passed the Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill. This includes… https://t.co/732INGcSs0— Samira Sawlani (@Samira Sawlani)1527700164.0
I expect that #Uganda's telecoms will simply increase the cost of all data bundles and will not offer "no-social-me… https://t.co/xd0ruf5RiW— Pavel (@Pavel)1527747388.0
Instead of focusing on important things like roads hospitals crime levels stopping the silly kidnapping issues and… https://t.co/HBo28CVelc— Johannes Kwesigabo (@Johannes Kwesigabo)1527746274.0
Uganda isn't the only East African country enforcing new rules that limit internet freedoms, the Tanzanian government announced last month that all bloggers and online content creators must obtain a $930 licensing fee before being allowed to post content online.