The tax was proposed by long-time leader Yoweri Museveni, who complained of online gossip & fake news in a letter in March and urged the finance minister to raise money “to cope with the consequences”.
Mobile internet users now have to input a telephone code to pay the tax before they are able to access most social media sites, although implementation has proved patchy with some blocked services still available. Ugandans are “bitter” because the tax “was brought in bad faith”, said Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, a prominent human rights lawyer. The levy of 200 Ugandan shillings (about 4p) will be payable upfront.
About 17 million of Uganda’s 41 million people are active internet users, according to government figures. With the social media levy the government hopes to collect about 400 billion shillings (£80 million) in this financial year alone.