Opposition MPs join activists against social media tax

Two days after government insisted on maintaining the Shs 200 per day tax for social media users, Opposition MPs have announced that they are joining the campaign to mobilise Ugandans against the tax.

The campaign that will run under a hashtag #ThisTaxMustGo was announced by the Leader of Opposition in Parliament Winnie Kiiza at press conference at Parliament on Wednesday.

“One reason why Museveni has been able to rule for this long is because the public has not been aware of their rights, the good thing is that they now more enlightened,” Kiiza said.

Kiiza was flanked by MPs from all the Opposition parties with representation in Parliament.

“A good tax must be acceptable and understood by all. The mere fact that the population is in agreement that this is a bad tax, we are also saying that this tax must go,” Kiiza said.

The State Minister for Finance in charge of Planning David Bahati told journalists at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala that since the introduction of the controversial taxes two weeks ago, government has so far collected Shs 2bn in tax from social media users.

Another Shs 5bn was collected from mobile money transactions.

The opposition MPs however say that the collections are not something to celebrate about since they are from an “immoral” tax.

“This money is from an illegal, immoral tax; we must stop it. Even if Bank of Uganda says that we are collecting it, it is too much, we are collecting it from the poor, we are killing innovation,” Kiiza said.

The Opposition MPs addressed the journalists as their NRM colleagues left for State House Entebbe for a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni to discuss the taxes.

The executive is expected to table a Bill on Thursday July 19 to amend the Excise Duty (Amendment) Act 2018 under which the taxes were introduced.

The amendment, according to Monday’s cabinet decision will be limited to the Mobile money tax which Museveni wants to be slashed to 0.5% on withdrawals from the current 1% on all mobile money transactions.