What would you do if the government decided to tax you for everything including your social media usage? Would you still be on Facebook and Twitter every minute wasting time on frivolous discussions and cowardly hiding behind your screen to insult people who are old enough to be your parents? Keyboard ninjas, would you be available to respond to every troll? Slay queens, would your online presence still be “on fleek” or would your “sponsor” have to step his game up?
The Ugandan government has thought up a way of making money from people who engage themselves daily on social media just for gossip. The government, realizing that there is a stream of revenue to be made from the frivolity of their citizenry, has thought it wise to tax social media users daily for using platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Whatsapp. Ugandan Finance Minister Matia Kasaija told Reuters news agency that the move was meant to raise revenue and would take effect from in July.
In heavy criticism of the move, human rights Rosebell Kagumire has said it is part of an attempt to curtail the freedom of expression currently being enjoyed by Ugandans. President Yoweri Museveni was quoted saying to Mr. Kasaija and other government officials in a letter that was made privy to Uganda’s privately owned newspaper, the Daily Monitor that the tax was only imposed on social media users who engaged in daily gossip. “I am not going to propose a tax on internet use for educational, research or reference purposes… these must remain free”, he clarified.
The proposed amount is yet unclear, but reports from Reuters has it that Mr. Kasaija says it will 200 Ugandan shillings ($0.027) a day. Meanwhile, State Minister for Planning David Bahati is quoted by the Daily Monitor as saying it will be 100 shillings. “We’re looking for money to maintain the security of the country and extend electricity so that you people can enjoy more of social media, more often, more frequently,” explained Mr. Kasaija.
Ugandan social media users are obviously not pleased with the news and have taken to social media to express their contempt.