Government sued over social media tax as UCC vows to block VPN.

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petitioners with their lawyer second right filling a petition at the constitutional court. photo by Mukose Arnold Anthony

By Mukose Arnold Anthony
Government of Uganda through the Attorney General, Uganda communications commission (UCC)  and Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) have been dragged to the constitutional court over levying “unconstitutional”taxes which is believed to be violating the constitution of Uganda particularly article 29 and 45 of fundamental right to communication and free internet respectively .

NBS’ journalist Raymond Mujuni, Cyber law initiative Uganda (U) Limited, Opio Daniel Bills, Baguma Moses, Okiror Emmanuel and Silver Kayondo are the main plaintiffs against the UCC, attorney general and URA seeking court to order for the retraction of this several taxation where Ugandans pay for cell phones, mobile money charges, data usage, scratch card among other taxes.

Addressing the media on Monday afternoon after filing the case, Eron Kiiza the lead counsel in this matter said that this kind of taxation is unacceptable and illegal.

“Ugandans pay lots of taxes for mobile and communication services including data, scratch card and phones used whose taxes are indirectly levied hence this is illegal which we have to challenge until the court clears the burden off Ugandans” Counsel Eron Kiiza noted.

“Government has hurriedly handled the OTT which could have been good but levied from either Gmail, facebook or other services instead of pushing the burden to us, we cant accept this unfairness” Mr. Opio noted
It should be noted that one to access social media he or she is required to pay 200, 1400 or 6000 shilling a day, week or month respectively via mobile money directly to URA.
in the morning UCC officials vowed to block access to virtue private network VPN which many are using to access social media platform without paying taxes.
The body also met with URA and all telecom companies to discuss the same among others and give themselves two weeks time to assess  the progress of the Ott tax.

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