We want to reduce cost of gigabyte of data to Shs96,000 - ICT minister

New Content Item (1)
New Content Item (1)

What you need to know:

Government is seeking to reduce the cost of a gigabyte of data from the current $35 (Shs135, 000) to at least $25 (Shs96,000).  

State Minister for ICT and National Guidance Godfrey Baluku Kabyanga, has said government is working on measures to reduce the cost of a gigabyte of data by $10 by next year. 

Speaking at the launch of the E-Trade and Startup Association of Uganda, Mr Kabyanga said government’s target is to bring the cost of a gigabyte of data from the current $35 (Shs135, 000) to at least $25 (Shs96,000).  

This, he said, will be achieved through continued investment in the National Data Transmission Backbone Infrastructure and e-Government Infrastructure Project across the country, which will deepen digital communication and e-commerce.

“We brought the cost of internet from $70 (Shs270,000) gigabyte of data to now $35 (Shs135,000). We want to bring it down to $25 (Shs96,000) in the next six months,” Mr Kabyanga, who was representing ICT and National Guidance Minister Chris Baryomunsi, said. 

The association, which was founded by among others, Safe Boda, Jumia, Tugende, a for-profit social enterprise and KTA advocates, seeks to enhance e-trade in the country as well as devise ways through which they can tackle the threat of cyber-attacks.  The association will also seek to help e-trade companies and startups unlock the potential of e-commerce as well as ensure that all transactions and sold goods or services meet required standards. 

Uganda continue to face challenges of high cost of internet, which is mainly blamed on an aggressive tax regime and high cost of investment.

Over the years, government has been implementing different tax regimes on internet-based platforms, which has in a way increased the cost of access. 

For instance, in 2019 government implemented the over the top tax on social media sites before it was abolished over poor performance. However, the tax was replaced by a new measure that introduced a 12 per cent excise duty on all purchased internet data bundles.    

During the launch, the E-Trade and Startup Association of Uganda also asked government to reopen restricted sites such as Facebook, which they said, had been key in promoting the operations of startups. 

Government, through Uganda Communications Commission, has also previously ordered for the closure of internet causing massive losses to businesses.