Uganda To Impose Tax On WhatsApp, Facebook Usage

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Uganda’s parliament has imposed a tax on the use of social media in a bid to raise revenue but opponents of the law say it aims to stifle criticism of President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power since 1986.

Users will be charged 200 shillings ($0.0531) per day for services such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. That amounts to around $19 per year in a country where gross domestic product per capita was around $615 in 2016, according to World Bank figures.

The tax was passed on Wednesday as part of an overhaul of an excise duty law due to take effect next financial year which starts in July, parliament spokesman Chris Obore told Reuters.

A junior finance minister previously told journalists the tax would be levied daily by mobile phone operators on each SIM card used to access any of the targeted social media platforms.

There was no immediate comment from cell phone operators or social media companies, but rights advocates denounced the move.

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