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Uganda introduces WhatsApp, Facebook tax to reduce gossip

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The Ugandan parliament had passed a law that will allow the government impose taxes on citizens making use of social media platforms.

The platforms to be covered under the law are Facebook, WhatsApp, Viver and Twitter.

Yoweri Museveni, the Ugandan president, had said that the use of these platforms encourage gossip.

Under the new law, which will be effective from July 1, affected Ugandans will be expected to pay 200 shillings ($0.05) daily, which amounts to $18 annually.

“As a government, we thought it would be good to impose taxes on some aspects of the social media,” deputy government spokesman Shaban Bantariza said on Thursday.

“Government is installing infrastructure like WiFi in areas around the country and it will not do this without our contribution through taxes.”

According to David Bahati, state minister for finance, the tax increase will help Uganda pay off its rising national debt. told parliament that the tax increases were needed to help Uganda pay off its growing national debt.

Reuters reports that out of the 23.6 million mobile phone subscribers in Uganda, 17 million use the internet. The government has not announced how it would go about collecting the taxes.

During the 2016 election, the social media networks were shut down in the east African country.

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