SOCIAL MEDIA TAX: UCC wants Telecoms To Block VPN Access

Uganda Communications Commission Executive Director, Godfrey Mutabazi has said that telecommunication companies will block virtual private networks (VPN) applications that are aiding Ugandans to evade social media tax.

The Uganda shilling 200 per day Over the Top (OTT) commonly known as social media tax took effect last night at the start of the 2018/2019 financial year. The tax has triggered uproar from Ugandans – some have grudgingly paid it – while others are chest thumping for evading it to access social sites using VPNs applications.

VPN enables internet users to use data bought from Uganda telecom companies but hide their Internet Protocol (IP). The IP addresses are distributed geographically and can be used to identify internet users’ location. People with VPN unblocked their social media sites without paying tax.

Mutabazi told Uganda Radio Network that telecom companies promised and are already blocking VPNs. But he added that there are many VPNs, admitting that not all of them can be blocked.

Mutabazi further argued that those who are going for VPNs instead of paying the social media tax are taking an unwise decision. He said VPNs consume more data than the Uganda shilling 200 that is paid as social media tax.

Mutabazi said Ugandans should pay the tax instead of going for VPNs. “It’s a government decision it’s not a UCC decision. People should pay tax. It’s a law, if the government says pay tax, you should pay,” he said.

On Thursday telecom companies notified customers that they would be required to pay 200 shillings per day, 1,400 for a week or 6,000 for a month to access social media lest they would be blocked.

When contacted for comment on blocking VPNs, MTN Uganda spokesperson Val Okecho had no immediate comment. However, he promised to consult and call back.

A constitutional petition challenging the tax is expected to be filed in court today.



14 thoughts on “SOCIAL MEDIA TAX: UCC wants Telecoms To Block VPN Access

  1. I thinks its not a good idea to to double tax ugandans thats the only cheap service we can afford ,we accepted other taxes but for social media , please we are not in good term. i dont think make sense to over tax everything even the cheap thing low earners can afford your taxingthats the proper direction of Uganda and dont force me to be a slave in my country ,Am Uganda and its my right to benefit from thre privilages of my country, i propose that if you need that tax make it a 24 service if i load todaty at 11:pm and expires the same time the next day .

  2. Atleast we will pay 500/: UgX for downloading that app instead of paying ugandan social media taxes because this is too much ,Muhamadi nsereko yabyogera netuwakana wangwe ayagala kudya abaana bayo

  3. I think this tax issue is all absolute theft.. am no economist but i thought one has to earn an income or make profit in a transaction and then taxed: definition of tax : “a compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers’ income and business profits, or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions.”
    So let govt tell us if one is crediting their account on mobile money or sending money to someone who is making money in this process and who should be taxed. taxing someone depositing / saving /sending money on his mobile mny account or to another account is just thuggery not tax. period. #govtmwedeko

  4. We are not glad for this social media taxes course all the citizens of uganda are not rich.

  5. People should pay taxes. Their are the very people complaining that government isn’t providing enough services. Am told VPN is expensive, why are our people going for it? Communication companies should sensities Ugandans on VPN. Paying taxes is a law and we should all pay. The government should also use the taxes in the right manner. Lets build our nation.

    1. Paying taxes would not be a problem but the way our money is corrupted and embezzled is beyond human expectation, look at our hospitals, schools and roads etc tukoye mutuleke namwe ummmh

  6. No single coin of my hard earned money is going to this evil tax.
    I will use any means available to avoid it. However expensive

  7. as Uganda’s currency is very valueless, still the Kaguta’s government is striving as much as possible to suck the poor for them to satisfy their stomachs with they families and party members.hmmmm we wonder if they are very shameless as it reflects

  8. The best thing Ugandans should do now is to vote out the regime, after all he has outlived its usefulness after 36 years in power, somebody is realy tired.

  9. I’ve already invented 4 VPNs with IPs of outside continents, anyone in need should inbox me.
    This time I won’t be crying to Mp Odur Jona’ and his fellow patriots to cast out that devil.
    Anti OTT taxes.

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