On 1st July 2018, the Uganda Government introduced new taxes on OTT services.
OTT services are applications that offer voice and messaging over the Internet; for example, but not limited to Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram, Skype, LinkedIn, etc.
The Ugandan Government passed the law that requires Ugandan citizens to pay tax (Over The Top tax) to access 58 blocked social media websites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, SnapChat, Skype, and LinkedIn inclusive), apps, news sites, and VoIP applications in May 2018. It affected the law from 1st July 2018.
The tax leveled against the use of social media platforms requires that Ugandans pay an approximate value of five cents daily as tax to access social media services, which amounts roughly to $18 yearly.
Ugandans will be required to pay this tax through mobile money operators, which also happens to be the biggest names in Ugandan’s telecom industry.
Why tax social media usage?
Uganda’s internet penetration rate as of 2017 stands at 48%, but with the introduction of laws banning the use of social media platforms, the figure has witnessed a sharp decline to 21.9% as of 2018.
The Ugandan Government asserts the claim of these social media platforms being a gossip platform for Ugandans. Hence, these platforms are categorized as ‘luxury,’ which ought to be taxed.
The ban has a strong effect on educators, businessmen, and women, and other users who rely on these social platforms to spread information and also promote their goods and services.
In the real sense of the picture, the law intends to cut down on increasing criticism and opposition against Museveni’s 33-year uninterrupted rule. A political undertone, I would say.
Taking away the freedom of expression of the Ugandans comes under the cloak of taxing internet social media platforms as a luxury item.
This, however, does not go down well with the citizens as more internet users are suing the Government for taking away Ugandan’s ‘Fundamental rights of Freedom of Speech’ and a means of livelihood for some.
A Human rights lawyer, Eron Kiiza, says: ‘There is no legal prohibition of rumor-mongering if it does not constitute defamation. No national or international law prohibits rumor-mongering.’
Kiiza and other human rights activists have lawsuits against the Government, waiting to be heard, will the fight for internet freedom of speech be won?
Will Ugandan’s be willing to pay more for social media use?
Reports gathered shows a declining usage of internet social media platforms with 57% of Ugandan’s internet user now taking to the use of VPN to boycott the tax law.
Hope for Ugandans
As earlier mentioned, more Ugandans are seeking solitude in the use of VPN services to bypass tax laws and other restrictions placed on the use of social internet platforms.
When you connect to a VPN (Virtual Private Network), their data traffic or request is channeled to the VPN through secure channels created by the VPN, rather than through your internet service provider. The VPN channels your data request to the appropriate platform on your behalf. Therefore, the VPN acts as an intermediary by protecting your IP address and location, making you appear as an anonymous user online.
Presently there are several VPN services available to Ugandans. Still, of these VPN services, RitaVPN service is one of the best options for Ugandans seeking to avoid taxes levied on social media platforms.
Subscribing to RitaVPN services which is one of the best VPN services you can use in Uganda ensures you enjoy the following to keep you protected from the Government’s unfair tax laws and government snooping
- Unlimited traffic limit
- Unlimited bandwidth connection
- Zero traffic logs.
- Simple and easy-to-use user interface.
- Free trial
- Connect a maximum of 4 devices
- A 7-day money-back guarantee
Benefits of using RitaVPN in Uganda
- RitaVPN encrypts your data traffic and makes it unreadable until it gets to the target website’s server. This VPN service provider does this by channeling your data traffic through encrypting and channeling your data traffic through a secure virtual tunnel to send and receive data from websites’ servers.
- RitaVPN uses the AES-256 and OpenVPN protocols to encrypt and protect data traffic between your device and RitaVPN’s servers. Also, with its kill-switch technology, you’re sure of all-round data encryption and protection even when your VPN connection breaks.
- With RitaVPN, you appear as an anonymous user with masked IP address and location because you’re accessing the Internet using the VPN’s server location and IP address. RitaVPN has thousands of servers spread around the world. Connecting to any of these servers outside of Uganda gives you access to all 58 banned websites, including Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, etc. by evading the OTT tax levy.
- Another advantage you can enjoy from VPN is access to blocked or geo-restricted content. Aside from the social media tax, the Government places a total ban on internet pornography. Subscribing to RitaVPN services gives you access to geo-restricted websites, including Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, etc.
- VPN does not keep a log of your activities. Not all VPN service providers observe this rule. RitaVPN ensures a 100% ‘no-log policy.’ Be assured your data is not stored for any purpose.
For more information about using RitaVPN services, visit us at our official website.
RitaVPN Pricing Plans
Subscription to the monthly offers you unlimited access to Spotify music and other VPN services for a whole month at $10.99 per month.
The 6-months plan offers you all of the benefits you enjoy from the monthly plan but at a significantly discounted rate of $49.99 per six months. With this plan, you save 25% at $8.33 per month.
One year plan
The one year plan gives you the same benefits of using Rita VPN, but at more than 50% discount. For $64.99 per year, You get a 55% amounting to $5.42 per month.
Subscribe to any of RitaVPN’s plans to enjoy unlimited access to social media networks and also enjoy the great advantages that come with using VPN services.