Uganda to review tax on social media following protests

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By Mel Frykberg

Johannesburg - Uganda will review a tax on the use of social media, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda has confirmed following a Wednesday protest which was broken up by police, the Daily Monitor reported.

Rugunda told parliament that President Yoweri Museveni had encouraged further discussion on the fiercely-contested levy.

"Government is now reviewing the taxes, taking into consideration the concerns of the public and an amended bill will be debated on July 19," he said.

Access to social media sites, including WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, as well as dating sites Tinder and Grindr, have been blocked since the beginning of July - unless users pay a 200-shilling (US$0.05, 0.04 euro) daily tax.

But just last week, Museveni defended the controversial tax stating that many Ugandans were failing to pay their taxes and that they should not be "donating" their money to foreign companies through chatting or "lying" on social media.

Currently, mobile internet users have to put a code into their phones and pay a fee before they are able to access social media sites.

This has resulted in some sites resorting to virtual private networks to disguise their location and avoid the law. - Nampa/ANA

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