The use of Social Media in Uganda has officially become a taxable activity, This means that those that use Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and other social media services are now being charged a certain amount of bill for using these services which started from 1st July..
According to the government’s decree, every activity from Tinder to Tumblr must be blocked by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) unless users make the tax payment from their mobile phones.
Having said that, VPNs are now the order of the day as users now sees them as their only means to avoid this new order on their country. In response to this development, the administration says it has ordered local ISPs to begin blocking VPNs.
In a joint statement, ISPs MTN, Airtel, and Africell informed their customers that the services listed above would be blocked until they make their payments. Payment must be made in advance via mobile phones, with a small discount available if customers pay a month in advance.
Within few hours of the news that VPNs were gaining in popularity, the government stepped to tackle the situation.
In a statement, Uganda Communications Commission Executive Director, Godfrey Mutabazi said that Internet service providers would be ordered to block VPNs to prevent citizens from avoiding the social media tax.
Government of the Republic
UCC ON VPN
"if you think it is cheaper to use VP paying Shs 200/day, I think it is very unwise to think that because the data consumption under VPN is very high think you’re aware of that. We have technology that will block the VPN services so that no one dodges the taxes. Different VPN systems come with more advanced features circumvent government crackdown governments around the world have continued to block them,” Godfrey Mutabazi UCC E.D
This is a very sad news to Ugandans, particularly those who may not afford the money to pay for the tax.