Uganda recently introduced a daily tax on the usage of certain internet services including social media. Something that had not been taken lightly by the citizens who see the move laced with malice; and for the good intention of raising government revenues.
Critics argue the move to impose a tax on social media was geared towards killing freedom of speech in Uganda. A well-calculated move given the high political tension the country is currently experiencing. As Uganda’s incumbent President, Yoweri Museveni changed the constitution to increase the President’s age limit of 75. The change in presidential age limit will enable Museveni to run for yet another term in the next polls as he will then be over 75 years old.
Social media giant Facebook has added its voice to the protests against the imposed daily tax on social media waring the Uganda Communications Commissions (UCC) that it will hold back its planned infrastructure development in the country. Facebook says it had planned to put up infrastructure valued at millions of dollars, but now it is thinking of taking that investment to another country.
Kojo Boakye, the Africa public policy manager at Facebook, said they (Facebook Inc.) has written to the UCC informing them of their intention. Boakye adds that the model they based their investment plan in Uganda will be grossly by the recently introduced social media tax.
According to a study by the Research ICT Solutions, the average Ugandan spends on average $2.40 (Ush.9,000) per month on voice calls, messaging, and browsing the internet. With the new tax, of $1.6 (Ush.6,000) monthly tax, social media could easily go out of user’s reach, and that means bad business for Facebook.