The Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi has said the government is in talks with other East African states to cut taxes on imported internet enabled appliances, especially smartphones.
According to Baryomunsi, this is among the government’s efforts to ensure easy accessibility of the internet and e-government services by every citizen.
Uganda is a landlocked country and many of her goods are transported through Kenya and Tanzania.
Baryomunsi made the remarks while speaking at the breakfast meeting organised by National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U) to celebrate the successful completion of a five-year partnership with the government.
“Currently, there are more than 30 million mobile phone subscribers translating to a 71% subscription rate. Over 23 million Ugandans are internet users translating into 71%,” he said.
Baryomunsi praised NITA-U for the achievements registered under the Regional Communications Infrastructure Programme (RCIP).
The objectives of the RCIP are to support Uganda’s efforts to lower prices for international capacity; extend the geographic reach of broadband networks and improve government’s efficiency and transparency through e-Government applications.
Baryomunsi noted that there is a deliberate effort to transform the country digitally, something he said will boost the realisation of Vision 2040 that is conceptualised around strengthening the fundamentals of the economy to harness the abundant opportunities around the country.
“Improving ICT is part of National Resistance Movement (NRM) ten point programmes and government agenda on digitising Uganda. When you examine the instruments that the government has put in place, you will find that ICT is instrumental and all our agendas speak to the fact about ICT,” he said.
The executive director at NITA-U, Dr. Hatwib Mugasa, said RCIP is organised into four components namely: enabling environment, connectivity, e-government and project management with a focus in agriculture, health, education, and justice, law and order sector.
“We are here to celebrate the successful implementation of RCIP across the different sectors of government,” Dr Mugasa said, adding that through RCIP, they have registered significant progress over the 5-year period with a 100% project completion of all set project activities.
The World Bank Country Manager Mukami Kariuki urged the government to build on RCIP gains to broaden use of digital platforms in extending services.