Social media tax demonstrators granted bail in Uganda

Social_media_protester_in_courtFour suspects arrested for holding a demonstration against social media tax and mobile money tax in the city centre have today been granted by Buganda Road Court.

Fred Nyanzi Sentamu, David Lule Ssebufu Edward & Julius Katongole granted Shs 1m cash and Shs 10m non-cash for their securities & barred from holding any demonstration by Grade One magistrate Esther Nahirya until August 24 when their case comes up for mention.

It is alleged that the suspects on July 11, 2018 held an unlawful assembly in the city centre to demonstrate against the Shs 200/daily levy on social media usage and 1% charge on all mobile money transactions.

Government has since maintained the social media tax but proposed a revision of mobile money tax from 1% to 0.5% on withdrawals following public outcry against the new taxes that came into effect on July 1, 2018.

Several internet users have avoided paying the social media tax by using virtual private networks (VPN) while mobile money agents have reported a significant drop in the number of transactions carried out.

Telecommunication companies have also reportedly registered a drop in revenues since the introduction of the new taxes.