Reports have it that the number of internet users in Uganda has significantly declined following the highly controversial levy imposed on social media users by the government. Social Media users are to pay 200 Shillings before gaining access since July 2018.
According to Uganda’s Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, the rationale for this tax is in a bid to “raise government revenue, help maintain the security of the country and extend electricity so that people can enjoy more of social media frequently”. The President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni further made an addendum that “the tax would help curb online gossip.”
Going by recent reports, the result of this imposed levy has not been as beneficial in the ways the government had envisaged, it has instead drastically shrunk the number of internet users in Uganda, as this tax was placed on the popular and highly used social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.
The Ugandan Communication Community recently made public the data from it’s third quarter report since the charge took effect and it is nothing short of underwhelming as it revealed the appalling effect that the levy has since had on digital inclusion in the country.
In the last three months of the Qtr under review, both the number of OTT taxpayers & figures for OTT revenues declined. Figures indicate subscribers using OTT services at least once in the quarter. 50.4% of the internet subscribers used OTT services by the end of September 2018. pic.twitter.com/aM7hBfage8— UCC (@UCC_Official) January 25, 2019
Going by the chart data, implementation of the tax resulted in a decline to 2.5 million users in the country.
Ugandans however rallied against this tax at the time it was initiated. They took to the streets of Kampala led by Musician and Member of Parliament Bobi Wine at the time.