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Facebook and WhatsApp will henceforth be taxed in Uganda

The Ugandan parliament has a new tax approved on the use of social media. Allegedly to the budget to food, but according to the opposition, the tax should criticism of the nation’s president, the head pressing.

Who in Uganda would like to make use of Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp, will now be 200 Ugandan shillings to pay. It comes down to an equivalent of about 16 euro per year, quite a lot for a country with 525 euro per capita gdp. For comparison: Belgium’s gdp per capita 35.086 euro.

The new tax was Wednesday approved, says parlementswoordvoerder Chris Obore, and is part of a reform of the Ugandan accijnswet, in the beginning of July. MOBILE phone operators are responsible for raising them through every sim card that provides access to social media.

Verstikkingsmiddel

The operators or social media channels have not yet responded, but the Ugandan opposition and human rights activists did that already. According to Nicholas Opiyo, a lawyer in the capital, Kampala, is the tax a ‘new verstikkingsmiddel for free speech and burgerengagement’. “The government wants the growing role of social media in politics, to establish links’, it sounds. The government denied those accusations earlier.

An estimated 40 percent of Ugandans use the internet. Apps like Facebook and WhatsApp are among them very popular. Still, data usage, according to the World Wide Web Foundation are already very expensive. ‘The government would have data usage more accessible, not the opposite, ” says Diana Taremwa, a liefdadigheidswerker in Kampala.

Since 1986

The 73-year-old Yoweri Museveni since 1986 as president of Uganda. According to the critics, he has, however, repeatedly elections are manipulated. His main rival, Kizza Besigye, is also already dozens of times ended up in jail. Some members of the opposition had also been a complaint to the pants for insulting Museveni on social media.

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