Uganda is one of the countries with many taxes but never at any time have arts people come out to reject any of them like they are doing with the current social media and mobile money tax that were implemented last week.
The new taxes are levied on mobile money charges as well as social media and since last week, comedians, musicians, poets and actors have been having daily meetings to show their dissatisfaction towards these taxes.
We however want to explain the implications of these taxes towards the arts industry in Uganda.
Musicians and comedians in Uganda transact their businesses on mobile for instance, after negotiating with promoters especially those upcountry, they receive their deposits on mobile money and receive the rest of the balance at the venue. With these new taxes, it means that promoters are going to or have already stopped booking them and resorted to booking those in their particular areas because the charges are high.
To some comedians, the social media tax has hindered their viewership on several platforms because the public can’t access their works. This point was emphasized by comedian Richard Tuwangye of Fun Factory. He said that their viewership has dropped tremendously ever since the introduction of this tax.
“We declined to show our weekly clips on TV stations and decided to start up our YouTube channel. We have been getting viewership of at least 30,000 every time we stream live but ever since the introduction of this tax, we have been getting 5000 viewers,” he said.
This means they are getting less money from YouTube yet their aim was to make money and reach as many people as possible but that is no longer possible.
The arts people will be having a peaceful protest on Wednesday at Constitutional Square at 9 AM to call upon the government to scrap off these taxes.