How Ugandans have responded to social media tax hours after its introduction



According to financial year 2018/2019 budget, government expects to collect about Shs 400 billion annually from the social media users, however realisation of this target may not easily be achieved going by the fact that Ugandans are taking whatever it means  to avoid paying the tax.
Jus few hours after introduction of social media tax, the search for 'VPN' on the world’s most popular search engine, Google, has skyrocketed and hit the maximum value (100) in the past few hours when the tax came into effect raising more concerns.
According to Google, between June 24, 2018 and June 29, 2018 at 7am the search for VPN had not gone beyond Google’s search trend value of '5'. In fact as at June 24 at 7am there was '0' search.
VPN is app that masks the user’s exact location and making it easy to bypass the blockage.
The telecommunications companies (MTN, Airtel and Africell) announced in a joint statement that the effective July 1, 2018 internet users will be required  to pay Shs 200/daily, Shs 1400 a week or Shs 6,000 a month to gain internet  access to social media.
Indeed, popular platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram were switched off by the telecoms on July 1 at midnight.
The first time Ugandans massively used VPN was in 2016 during presidential elections after government blocked social media in the country.
Many government critics said that imposing social media tax is a way of curtailing freedom of speech, however the government urged that they need more resources to avoid depending on foreign aid.

In 2016, Trust.Zone VPN was downloaded at least 520,000 times by mobile and desktop devices in Uganda within just two days - overwhelming the site and making it unreachable for about 30 minutes. 
It is important to note that many Ugandans have decided to boycott social media

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