Thanks to SIMI, Uganda will start manufacturing its first smartphones. SIMI makes phones specifically tailored for the average consumer. The phones currently focus on one major aspect, battery life. The ‘regular’ non-smartphones can last up to at least two weeks and can charge via Solar power too.
The smartphones have a battery capacity of at least two days. Currently, SIMI has the capacity to make 2000 phones a day. She has already flagged off an 18,000 phone consignment that Uganda is exporting to Morocco. They also want to involve university students in the development of apps and software for the handsets.
However, this might come at a cost. If you thought phones were expensive, think again. Phone importers should start preparing themselves for a new 10% tax on all imported smartphones. This is in a bid to limit the importation of the handsets and increase the purchase of smartphones being manufactured locally.
According to NTV Uganda, Evelyn Anite, the Minister of Investment and Privatization in Uganda, has said the government is going to start giving incentives and priority to firms that produce products or components needed by the government such as computers and smartphones.
Why The Tax Imposition on Uganda Smartphones?
The minister votes that Ugandans are importing up to 5 million phones a year with no tax alone. Thus, to promote the sale of these ‘African phones’, the government is looking to slap a 10% tax on foreign phones.
It’s 10% now but it will shoot to 25%. This is because we want to create demand for these phones. We have been donating jobs and money to other nationals. As Ugandans, we must embrace our products. Evelyn notes.
Smartphones are already incredibly expensive. This will only lead to an increase in the digital divide. Who advises these MPs.?
— Ayella Brian | 老人 ?? (@AyellaBryan) May 24, 2020
The factory was commissioned last year and they aim to export 18,000 handsets monthly. Should this trait seep into the borders of Kenya, we may soon expect an increase in prices and a tax imposition on imported handsets. Are we ready for this?