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Police stop planned protest over social media tax

The Ugandan police on Monday said it will not allow a planned demonstration against a recently imposed government tax on the use of social media and mobile money transactions in the east African country.

Emilian Kayima, the police spokesperson, told Xinhua by telephone that the organizers of the demonstration slated for Wednesday did not seek police permission as required by the law.

“No one has bothered to write to us as the law (public order and management act) so demands. What do you do to people that break the law? Apprehend them,” said Kayima.

Activists who include opposition legislators, artists and civil society have urged the public to come into the capital Kampala protesting the daily fee of 200 shillings (0.05 U.S. dollars) for social media use and 0.5 per cent excise duty on mobile money transactions.

Telecommunication companies on July 1 started enforcing the excise duty charge on Over-The-Top services dubbed ‘social media tax’ and one per cent levy on mobile money transactions.

President Yoweri Museveni later clarified that the tax on mobile money was 0.5 per cent.

Museveni said the tax issue was still open to discussion.

The government said it imposed the tax to increase domestic budget financing instead of depending on foreign aid which is becoming expensive.

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