Ugandan internet users have been hit by a new tax on mobile data in a move the country’s opposition leader branded a new assault on freedom of speech.
The new internet tax came into effect on Thursday and imposes a 12 percent excise duty on mobile data, pushing up costs in a nation already bogged down by sky-high data fees.
The new tax is part of a government initiative to raise revenue for public services and will replace a fiercely-contested social media tax imposed in 2018, the minister of state for finance and planning, Amos Lugoloobi, told AFP on Friday.
“The new mechanism is to help (the) government achieve its main objective of industrialisation for inclusive growth, employment and wealth creation,” he said.
Opposition leader Bobi Wine, who led 2018 protests against the previous social media tax, said on Twitter that freedom of speech was under attack in a new form.
“We must never stop protesting against these schemes by a paranoid, greedy regime,” said the firebrand singer-turned-lawmaker — who lost to President Yoweri Museveni in a January election.
The new tax will not be imposed on mobile data purchased for research, medical or educational purposes, but it remains unclear how that will be implemented.