Implications of Uganda’s New Social Media Tax

East African Journal of Peace & Human Rights Vol. 24 #2 (2018)

37 Pages Posted: 30 May 2019

See all articles by Ronald Kakungulu-Mayambala

Ronald Kakungulu-Mayambala

Makerere University - School of Law

Solomon Rukundo

Mawazo Policy Institute

Date Written: 2018

Abstract

In May 2018, the Excise Duty (Amendment) Act 2018 which introduced a tax on the use of social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Viber was passed by the Parliament of Uganda. Three reasons have been given for the tax. Its originator, the President of the Republic of Uganda, claimed that Ugandans were using social media for what he termed as “lugambo” (gossip) and therefore needed to be taxed to limit this. The Minister of ICT and National Guidance (ICT) claimed that the tax was meant to encourage the development and use of local social media platforms. Finally, it was claimed that the tax was meant to raise revenue. This article examines these rationales for the tax to determine their accuracy. The article further examines the likely impact of the tax on the economy, the digital divide, vulnerable groups like women and people with disabilities and freedom of expression in the country.

Suggested Citation

Kakungulu-Mayambala, Ronald and Rukundo, Solomon, Implications of Uganda’s New Social Media Tax (2018). East African Journal of Peace & Human Rights Vol. 24 #2 (2018), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3383377 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3383377

Ronald Kakungulu-Mayambala

Makerere University - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 7062
Kampala
Uganda

Solomon Rukundo (Contact Author)

Mawazo Policy Institute ( email )

Plot M193/M194- Nakawa Industrial Area
P.O.Box 7279
Kampala
Uganda

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