Uganda to impose 10% tax on imported phones
The government of Uganda plans to impose a 10% tax on all imported phones in a bid to increase the adoption of locally manufactured devices.
The country’s Minister of Investment and Privatisation Evelyne Anite said the move is also to prioritise companies that manufacture devices or components for the government.
The Minister said the country imports five million mobile phones per year without paying the required tax.
Now, with 10% tax added, the price of imported phones could be out of reach for most locals.
Currently, on average, users are purchasing 2,000 locally produced mobile phones per month, according to Anite.
A local mobile phone manufacturing company was commissioned by Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni in November 2019 to meet local demand and also export excess volumes to the rest of Africa.
Last month, the company exported 18, 000 phones to Morocco.
Some of the gadgets assembled and manufactured at the plant have self-charging solar battery units making them suitable for rural areas where there is no electricity.
The company’s flagship brand is SIMI Mobile and both analogue and smartphones are being manufactured at the plant.
However, the Minister warned that if the current situation continues unchecked, the company could close its doors.
She added: “Buying imported phones means that we are donating money and jobs to other countries that are producing the phones. I therefore want to ask Ugandans that let us embrace our products. The factory has the capacity to produce 2, 500 phones daily.”
According to latest report by the Ugandan Communications Commission (UCC), the number of active smartphones on networks had risen to 6.6 million by the end of December 2019, while feature phones with basic data capabilities totalled 17.2 million.