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Uganda to review social media tax


UGANDA WILL review its decision to impose taxes on the use of social media and on money transactions by mobile phone, following a public backlash, BBC Africa reports.

Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda made the announcement soon after police broke up a protest against the taxes.

President Yoweri Museveni had pushed for the taxes to boost government revenue and to end "gossip" on WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, but critics have accused him of trying to limit free speech and silence voices.

The social media tax is 200 Uganda shillings [$0.05, £0.04] and targets the use of what are described as Over The Top (OTT) services, which offer "voice and messaging over the internet", according to a previous statement by telecom companies.

Users are asked to make an electronic payment before they can access the sites.

In a statement to parliament, Mr Rugunda said: "Government is now reviewing the taxes taking into consideration the concerns of the public and its implications on the budget.

"The president has provided guidance on the matter and encouraged further discussion with a view to reaching consensus on how we should raise the much needed revenue to finance our budget."

A revised budget is due to be tabled in parliament on July 19.

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