Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is expecting to collect at least 5 billion shillings ($1.32 million) from the new value-added tax (VAT) from social media, streaming sites and other internet-based tech giants, The Monitor newspaper said.

Sarah Chelangat, URA domestic taxes commissioner, said VAT on digital services aims to level the playing field between local service providers that already charge VAT while foreign tech giants were not obligated earlier to collect VAT. 

Uganda is not the first to implement such a charge, she said, adding that more than 70 countries, including South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, were already charging VAT on non-resident digital services providers.

“URA expects that such a move will generate an extra five billion in tax revenue in the current 2022/23 financial year,” she added.

The authority had set an October 30 deadline for streaming sites, social media and other technology firms to register for VAT.

URA assistant commissioner public and corporate affairs Ibrahim Kibuuka Bbosa had indicated that two companies - Netflix and Apple - had already implemented the new measures.

(Editing by Seban Scaria