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Social Media Tax Fails To Raise Expected Amount

A controversial social media tax introduced last year has only raised 17 per cent of the expected revenue.

Ms Doris Akol, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Commissioner General said this was due to people using wireless networks and virtual private networks to avoid the daily tax of Shs200.

The tax was introduced to raise more funds. It was expected to raise 284 billion but only collected 49.5 billion showing the tax’s poor performance.

“We think it was affected by use of Wi-fi in internet covered areas and as well as the continued use of VPNs to avoid paying the tax,” Ms Akol said.

The tax led to protests on streets. It was criticised for being part of a wide attempt by the government to stop free speech, prevent social media from being used to organise peaceful protests.

Presenting the annual revenue performance under theme: ‘Transparency and Accountability for Effective Service Delivery,’ major revenue contributing sectors are mining and quarrying sector which grew by 17.6 per cent, trade and repairs grew by 6.6 per cent, construction raised 5.7 per cent. Manufacturing grew by 4.4 per cent, financial and insurance activities raised by 8.3 per cent and public administration raised by 10.6 per cent.

Ms Akol said an improved economic environment paved way for the taxman’s Shs258 billion revenue surplus in the just-concluded financial year triggering economic growth.