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Uganda’s parliament on Wednesday approved a law that impses new taxes on social media services and mobile money transactions.
Critics of the Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill, 2018 had argued that taxing social media would amount to restrictions on freedoms of expression on the internet while taxing mobile money transactions would hurt low income earners who had found solace in the services, after mainstream banks failed to reach them with suitable services.
Government however argued that the needs of poor Ugandans had been considered and that the revenue collected from the new taxes would be used to provide services like ‘free education, free healthcare and free roads’ that are demanded by the citizenry.
We are putting that into the mind that’s why we are only increasing it by 1% not 2%. These people we are taxing need free medical care, education and all services,’‘ said Bahati David, the state finance minister in charge of planning.
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The new taxes that take effect in the next financial year will see Ugandans pay a 1% tax on all mobile money transactions while they will also be charged 200 shillings ($0.027) for every day they access social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.
Opposition politicians voiced their reservations on the benefits of taxing the poor, in the name of revenue collection. Many argued that government should instead focus on tackling corruption to optimise the use of available government resources.
‘‘We are losing money to corruption yet we want to tax the poor who are trying to survive. I don’t want to be part of the parliament that strangles the life out of Ugandans, ‘’ said Katusabe Godfrey, a legislator from the biggest opposition party in Uganda.
Of Uganda’s 41 million people, 23.6 million are mobile phone subscribers and 17 million use the internet.
Other East African countries have passed laws that activists complain curtail free expression.
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Salah withdraws from Egypt Squad
Egypt Football Federation has leave out Mohammed Salah on the upcoming AFCON qualifiers match with Kenya due to injury worries.
Egypt were grouped with kenya, Togo, Comoros in Group G, football fans has tipped Egypt to top the group due to their attacking threat.
The Egyptian talisman has now been ruled out of the upcoming AFCON qualifiers after due assessment by Egypt’s medical team.
The physios believe the Liverpool star’s injury, which was sustained from a challenge by Leicester City’s Hamza Choudhury earlier last month, has been aggravated during the clash against Manchester City and needed time to heal.
The Egyptian frontman will miss the two matches scheduled this week.
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Groups criticise Kenya’s census figures
Groups has criticised the released Kenya’s population census figures stating that the results are not accurate.
It found that the total population of the country is now 47.6 million, nine million more than in 2009.
But some regions have experienced a decrease in population.
These outcomes can be hugely controversial because the size of the local population has important implications for the level of government funding they receive.
Kenya’s population is made up of many different ethnic groups, closely aligned to competing political parties.
The government has yet to release all the data on the ethnic composition of the country, but the changes in population in certain regions from this latest census have already caused arguments.
The outcome of such surveys can embolden or weaken claims made by groups for political representation or resources.
In one area of the north-east territories bordering Ethiopia and Somalia, the census indicates a decrease in the population, prompting local political leaders looking to retain funding for their provinces to question the veracity of the survey
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