Africans Fear Trend Toward Taxes on Data, Mobile Money
Monday, October 22, 2018
The brisk business Julius Kirya did from his cash transfer kiosk in the Ugandan capital has slowed right down with a new tax on mobile money. Many of his customers have returned to sending banknotes by hand, in some cases via motorbike taxi.
How to tax digital revenues, from fintech to social media, is a puzzle authorities around the world are working on. A solution catching on in Africa – levies on usage – has obvious appeal to indebted governments but a big impact on people like Kirya, who saw the tech revolution as a way out of poverty.
“I had a dream of steadily growing to middle-income status,” he said from his tiny cubicle attached to a Kampala petrol station, one of thousands across the country that serve the millions of people without access to bank accounts.
Photo courtesy of Scott Mainwaring.