By Norah Mukimba
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.
With many Ugandans now utilising all the existing loopholes to evade the newly introduced Social Media tax, especially through using Virtual Private Network (VPN), Uganda Communication Commission has vowed that the evasion will soon come to an end.
According to Ibrahim Bbosa, Manager Consumers Affairs, UCC, the regulatory body together with telecom companies, are building the capacity to can track down VPN users.
Bbosa revealed that; “Despite many VPN apps being introduced almost every day, only two are beating our capacities. But soon we shall track them down.”
The Uganda shilling 200 per day Over The Top (OTT) commonly known as social media tax took effect from 1 July 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 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.
Last 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.