In a bid to stop excessive gossip on social media platforms, the Ugandan Parliament has passed a controversial law to impose tax on its citizens using these platforms.
The law which takes effect from July introduced a 200 shilling [$0.05, £0.04] daily levy on people using internet messaging platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber, and Twitter.
President Yoweri Museveni had pushed for this law back in March, calling on the Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija, to find a way of collecting revenue from the use of social media by Ugandan people, adding that collection of revenue from use of the platforms would help the country cope with the consequences of gossip.
However, how this law would be implemented is not yet known.
The Finance Minister, Mr. Kasaija argued there should be no tax on internet data as it was useful for “educational, research or reference purposes”.
Though critics have said the law would curtail freedom of expression, the Finance Minister dismissed such concerns that the new law could limit people’s use of the internet.
Experts and at least one major internet service provider have raised doubts about how a daily tax on social media will be implemented, the BBC’s Catherine Byaruhanga reports from Uganda.
The government is struggling to ensure all mobile phone SIM cards are properly registered.
And of the 23.6 million mobile phone subscribers in the country, only 17 million use the internet, Reuters reports.
It is still not clear how government would be able to track down people in Uganda using Facebook and WhatsApp platforms with a view to collecting tax from them.