Facebook threatens not to invest in Uganda’s internet technologies over social media tax

Jonah Kirabo

Jonah Kirabo

, News, Technology

Facebook development team in Africa has threatened not to invest in Uganda’s internet technologies if government upholds tax on social media.

The social media power house had late last year, 2017 revealed a plan to partner with telecom giant Bharti Airtel Uganda and Cloud services to launch a 770 kilometers fibre network in the northern region of Uganda as part of their investment plan. This will be no more if government decides to uphold the tax on “over the top” services (OTT).

The Africa Public Policy Manager at Facebook, Boakye Kojo announced Monday afternoon that they have already notified the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) on how they won’t be executing the plan but rather “take their plan elsewhere” should government decide to uphold the tax.

” The model of our investment plan will be hurt by the tax in Over the top services and the company will have to hold back on the investment worth millions of dollars,”  Kojo said in part of the statement.

The tax on social media became effective on July 1st, 2018 and users of social media platforms such as Facebook owned Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram now have to part with at least Shs 200 daily, if they’re to access these platforms in Uganda.

A survey carried out by Whitehead Communications which is a remarkable research firm however indicated that over 57% of the users are browsing via Virtual Private Networks (VPN) to access the platforms which incapacitates the government ambitions of widening the tax base.

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