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Facebook holds back planned investments following Uganda’s social media tax imposition

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Social media giant Facebook has warned that it will hold back its planned investment in Uganda’s infrastructure due to the country’s recent imposition of tax on the use of social media.

Facebook Africa public policy manager, Mr. Kojo Boakye said that the company has informed Uganda Communications Communication(UCC) of the intent to shift their investments elsewhere, as they would be affected by the USh 200 (KSH 5) daily social media tax on the locals.

UCC executive director, Mr. Godfrey Mutabazi, however, denies the claim that they were informed of the intent to halt the investment, stating that the meeting with Facebook officials only covered the social media tax. “We talked about social media tax but we did not talk about anything to do with them taking their investments elsewhere. Even in Europe, there is social media tax and they [Facebook] have not taken away their investments,” he said.

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Nonetheless, Facebook is in the process of offering free Internet access for all its sites in about 42 Africa countries. The service will be offered under the Free Basics initiative and will allow mobile phone users to access Facebook and associated sites free of charge.

However, Mr. Boakye did not clarify which particular investment Facebook will be withdrawing, indicating that they would engage Uganda’s government in dialogue on social media tax before taking any drastic measures.

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