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Parliament Drops OTT Tax, Introduces New Tax On Data Bundles

Parliament Drops OTT Tax, Introduces New Tax On Data Bundles

The Parliament of Uganda has finally dropped payment of Over The Top Services tax commonly known as OTT tax. This comes as good news to many, however, on the downside, a new tax on data bundles has been introduced.

This happened after the passing of the Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill 2021.

On Thursday, a bill to recall the need for Ugandans to pay shs200 daily as OTT tax so as to access social media platforms was passed. However, in the new bill passed, a new 12% Excise duty on data bundles came into effect.

This means that a 12% tax will be levied on all internet data bundles and it is reportedly meant for research, educational, and medical purposes.

Most Ugandans opposed OTT tax

Most people have opposed the OTT tax since its introduction in 2018. Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi in the same year led a section of Ugandans to protest against the tax. He said the tax went against the rights of citizens and therefore they should remove it.

Police later arrested him and arraigned him in court over the same but this didn’t stop him from advocating for the scrapping of the tax. Earlier this year, a civil organization named the Unwanted Witness urged the government to scrap off the tax.

‘’Individuals should be able to access, use, create, publish digital media through the use of ICT means because they have the digital human rights that are legal and therefore should be protected,’’ Dorothy Mukasa, the Executive Director of the Unwanted Witness said.

However, whether or not they told the government to remove the tax, or to just transform it, is anyone’s guess!

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