Uganda’s telecommunications companies on Wednesday (27 – 06 – 2018) said effective July 1, they will disconnect users of social media until they pay a new tax that government recently introduced.
Airtel, Africell and MTN in a joint statement said users can choose to pay the social media tax daily, weekly or monthly. The companies said upon payment, a user will be connected back.
The companies said payment can either be through MTN or Airtel Mobile Money Services.
Lawmakers in May passed a bill introducing an excise duty on social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, LinkedIn, and Viber. The tax comes into effect on July 1, 2018.
Government argued that the move is aimed at raising domestic revenue instead of depending on the increasing cost of foreign financing.
Earlier this month, civil society organizations and rights activists criticized the lawmakers for passing the controversial bill, saying it is unwarranted and unnecessary on tax payers.
Uganda has 23.5 million mobile phone subscribers, according to a recent report by Uganda Communications Commission, a state-run agency.