“If you are committed Ugandan who really wants services from you government why are you motivated and proud with your head high to contribute money 30 times OTT tax to the Innovator of VPN” – Frank Tumwebaze
Today, The Minister of ICT &National Guidance Frank Tumwebaze spoke his heart out in defense of the Social Media Tax. Just as the first quote. Shows how he will defend the state massive breach of freedom of speech, with the 200 shillings a day for Social Media Tax. That the National Resistance Movement (NRM) calls OTT or Over The Top Services. They are continuing their assault on the use of phone, like it is a luxury and not a way of communications. Non of the times, they are explaining why the citizens are taxed, but not the companies.
“When Ministry of Finance is borrowing, we, the Parliament and civil society are grilling them for borrowing. But when we say this is a sector that has grown in the economy so let’s get a bit of it, let’s get Shs. 6,000 from every holder of a smartphone consuming OTTs, what production capacity will it stifle?” (Frank Tumwebaze, 17.07.2018)
Well, when you live on less then a dollar then a day, than your already struggling in life and many are, but this tax is taking up to 20% of the lowest civil servants or public officials, these are the low level government clerks and teachers. They are using one fifth of their salary on this tax on the top of the use of paying taxes for using the phone, as the air-time is taxed, the phone is and the income of the salary is too. So it is not like the person didn’t pay for anything before opening Facebook or WhatsApp. That is just a non-story.
Let me say what it will stifle, the conversation and the opportunity to get the information online, as the most is spread through social media. The media houses, the government and the rest is informing through these platforms to the public. If you want to know something, you go into the Social Media and read the information there. This also close out the poorest from addressing their vocal needs online and even maybe make it too expensive to use apps to configure trade of crops or even tips for using their plots. Not that is considered, because everyone can afford to fork out money like drunk MPs, right?
“Is USD 1,4 too much for a citizen to contribute to tax yet you have money to buy a smartphone, minimumly at Shs. 300,000 that is data enabled, and you load bundles of over shs. 30,000? Logically it doesn’t make sense” (Frank Tumwebaze, 17.07.2018).
If this was only true, if the part of the big majority who is under poverty-line or struggling to get salaries, they cannot afford this. They will be silenced. Many are buying knock-off B-Products of Cellphones, which cost a fraction of what the Minister propose. It is a very selected few who owns the newest Iphone, there are more lackluster Samsung and Nokia out there. The ones with the simple smartphone systems. So that the minister should consider that. In the same regard, the Minister should disclose why the companies have closed and stopped the cheapest bundles and packages after 1st July 2018 as the OTTs Tax came into affect?
However, that is not a big deal for him. He thinks everyone has his salary and has capacity to pay out of their ass in double or triple tax on the same service, as they are doing in this. Still, putting it all on the citizen and still not on the corporation. What has the Telecoms done to beat the ass of the government? Since the argument is never to tax the corporations who are earning on these services, but always on the citizens?
The final rebuttal from me today, for the fist question about VPN. It is very simple why people use VPN. Because this government spend revenue and donations like there is no tomorrow on wastage of cronyism, corruption and on the President. It doesn’t deliver services, but feed the royal court of Museveni. Therefore, they rather pay a random stranger, than feeding the monster at the State House. This is their reaction to the unhealthy activity of the state, also the unfair double taxation. If they didn’t pay VAT and other taxes on the Air-Time or Data-Bundle, it would be a little fair, but when you already do that and has a second pay wall. Than you know that the issues of stupidity deserves to be counter with defiance. Peace.