Internet users in Uganda from today will face a 12% tax on their data packages.
The data tax follows the failure of an attempt to raise tax on over-the-top (OTT) applications, including WhatsApp and Twitter, introduced in 2018.
The government has imposed the tax — now approved by parliament — because the country had debts of US$18.4 billion at the end of 2020, a rise of 30% on the figure for the end of 2019.
Uganda is already believed to be one of the most expensive countries in Africa for data rates.
In the second quarter of 2020, while the number of mobile internet subscribers was 18.9 million, the Communications Commission (UCC) estimated that only 11.3 million subscribers paid the tax on OTT.
The rest of the country’s users have switched to virtual private networks (VPNs) to stay out of sight of the government.