Government has been asked to waive off the Over The Top (OTT) tax, commonly known as the social media tax to ease communication and access to information during the Corona Virus (COVID-19) lockdown.
On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, President Yoweri Museveni ordered for the closure of universities, schools and suspended all religious gatherings across the country in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
As a result, several religious entities and academic institutions have resorted to using digital technologies and tools such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter and You-Tube among other social media tools, as a way of engaging their audiences and students respectively.
However, there is much fear that a large section of the population is likely to be kept in the dark, due to inaccessibility of information, as a result of OTT levy, introduced in July 2018.
The Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Orthodox Church in Uganda (EOC), the Most Reverend Jacinto Kibuuka announced that they had suspended the physical gatherings in favour of virtual spaces for ministry outreaches.
According to Bishop Kibuuka, the faithful’s will be able to follow Divine Liturgies via Facebook streamline and other social media platforms at 12pm every Sunday and 5:00 pm on Wednesdays.
“We pledge to record daily devotion prayers and circulate them on major Social Media platforms especially; Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, and YouTube Accounts which we use as a family to share the message of God,” Bishop Kibuuka observes.
Bishop Kibuuka appealed to government to suspend the tax on social media, to allow their faithful’s access the messages without restrictions. Kibuuka also says, government should waive off OTT for the sake of the students who will be taking online classes to ease their communication with each other.