ICT experts have said that government is creating an enabling environment for ICT to spur social and economic development by lowering the cost of communication.
Experts believe that ICT sector has witnessed a dramatic turnaround, especially following the creation of the National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U).
This a body is charged with the responsibility of implementing the national backbone Infrastructure.
The discussion was aired live on NBS television on Monday night.
According to the Vincent Bagiire, permanent secretary Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, their ministry is fully responsible for determining policies and implementing them to ease development.
“We are responsible for the ICT infrastructure in the country.We have a mandate to ensure the country’s digital agenda is implemented.In 2016 when we launched National Development Plan II(NDP2),we had about 22 million telecom subscribers,”he said.
He said that as per the moment the country has about 28 million telecom subscribers.
“In NDP III, we shall ensure that we have as much infrastructure as possible.We shall also see to it that there is automation on most of the government services so that people do not have to make long lines,”he said.
Bagiire said the ministry has an ICT innovation fund which has attracted about 3,000 applicants.
“Unfortunately, we have been able to support 10% of that number.One of those we have supported is the e-postal system.With the e-postal system, you can get a Post Office Box number online and will be notified when you have a mail,”he said.
The executive director, Uganda Communication Commission (UCC), Dr. Irene Ssewankambo said as government, they are now looking at creating services that are locally relevant to the people.
“We have noticed a need to do digital skilling even for the basics like using a search engine.With the internet, you need a bit more skilling if you are to grow its usage in Uganda,”she said.
“We want to lower the barriers of entry so that new operators can come into the market. We also need to address competition so that the existing operators can compete in a healthy way.”
She asked Ugandans to trust the local innovators adding that they are setting up a 5G test page and they seek to have this open to different people to come and set up local use cases.
On the issues regarding the tough regulation on the media, Ssewankambo said UCC is a lot more than switching off radios and televisions as widely perceived by most Ugandans.
“Most people think of us as the policemen of the sector.There is a lot more to regulation than just policing.At UCC, we set out to see that everyone across the country enjoys ICT services,”she said.
“We always tell the operators that we are their partners and not just the policemen. We advocate their interests to the various sectors in government.We also engage, for example, with NAB, and through them, we conduct training to the media houses.”
Experts said the mission of the ICT Association of Uganda is to develop a strong sector through partnerships with relevant stakeholders.
On the integration project, experts said government is undertaking a process to have all systems and applications integrated for a citizens seamless service experience.