Social Media Tax: Taxes directly on Cellphone services is now a reality!

The Social Media Tax and the Over The Top Taxes, this meaning all the services on the Social Media cost 200,- shillings per day, which means 6000 shillings a month and also 1 % on each transaction by the Mobile Money Transfer. This have been messaged by the government and by the Telecommunication Companies. We even know that by yesterday, the MTN sent messages to their costumers stopping the possibility of their lowest data-bundle. Which cost 250, shillings. Because the least cost now with added tax must be 400,- shillings or so. Since they have to add in the new tax and the usage itself.

That means that the data-bundle will be more expensive now and people have to buy bigger. Because the state will sooner or later see the ones using VPN or other methods of tricking the IP addresses and whatnot. Since, not everyone can afford this. They are shielding the poor people from paying the new taxes and using the services. Over time the voices on social media will go down, even the lack of transactions through the Mobile Money Networks. That is ironic, as the state has tried to push this up-country and even in Northern Uganda. Where there are lack of ATMs and even Bank Offices. Therefore, the attack and add of taxes on these services will just be new add of hardships for plenty.

Clearly, there are many who has complied, who has paid the direct 200 shillings for the social media tax, if you paid that with mobile money, you would pay another 1 % of the transaction fee of 2 shillings on the Mobile Money. That means the total tax is 202 shillings. That before you start using the cellphone or any of the other services on the phones.

This is really insulting to the poor and the low-level employees, whose salary is down to 21,000 shillings or close to 31,000 shillings a months. That means that with the 6000 shillings each month, they would spend ruffly close to 9,7000 on the lowest data-bundle and Air-Time package. This is through Twaweza published on the 7th June 2018. Meaning the lowest salary is close to half and one third of the second lowest level of public salaries. This being U8 Local Government Employee and U7 Primary School Teachers, whose being hit hard. That not being random hawkers or unemployed who are living from hand-to-mouth. They cannot even see the Social Media already as it is, and will be shut out of the public conversation online. This is really making sure the elite are online, while the rest barely get to be a part of the discussion online.

This is really assaulting free-speech and the ability for the poor to be part of the conversation and be part of social media interactions, as well as usage of the Mobile Money transactions. Since all of this is adding costs and making sure the data-bundles and Air-Time will be more costly.

That the Members of Parliament voted and accepted this after the President wrote a letter to the Finance Minister on “social gossip” online and wanted to tax the OTT Service in 12th March 2018 and on 30th May 2018 voted in Parliament. That is how the Excise Duty was levied on the public. While it is starting today on the 1st July 2018. That means, the proposed taxes of April 2018 and put into affect now. Therefore, the public should have known about it. There are other new taxes, which is not on the cellphone, but that deserves to be taken separately.

What is weird about it all, the Twaweza study of the numbers was more vital for the ordinary person, than the Parliament report, which was focused on added revenue, not expressing how it would hit the public. Which for me is weird, as the MPs are supposed to work for the public and serve them. Not just add taxes. Peace.

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