Technology

Museveni Hails NITA for Efforts on Cutting Internet Costs

President Yoweri Museveni has commended the National Information Authority Uganda (NITA-U), which under the guidance of the Ministry of ICT & National Guidance came up with a strategy of procuring bulk purchase of internet bandwidth.

Museveni noted that with the reduction in the cost of internet connectivity, from $1200 per Mbps in 2011 to the current $70 per Mbps in 2017, connectivity across government agencies is now effortless and this translates into greater efficient as they serve Ugandan citizens.

The president made the remarks during the fifth phase of Presidential Investors’ Round Table (PIRT) at State House last week.

Museveni launched the fifth phase of PIRT in August, 2015 which focuses on four thematic areas of Tourism; Competitiveness and Ease of Doing Business; Minerals Value Addition; and Energy, Oil and Gas.

Each of the four thematic areas is handled by a specific Technical Working Group (TWG) comprised of the private sector and technical officers from the relevant sector Ministries.

NITA-U Efforts

The National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) continues to position and drive the use of ICT in Uganda.

The roll-out of the National Back Infrastructure (NBI) has contributed to the commendable improvement across the four thematic areas specific to the PIRT, NITA-U officials say.

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With the drive to increase connectivity in Ministries, Departments & Agencies and Local Governments (MDAs), “this has led to improved collaboration thereby ensuring efficiencies in service provision across government.”

Additionally, the continued deliberate lowering of cost of connectivity has spurred usage of internet and related services in MDAs as price is no longer a barrier of entry.

Currently all MDAs can get connected to the internet at the competitive price of $70 per Mbps.

This is expected to go lower in July 2018 at a new price point of $50 per Mbps for all MDAs.

In addition, NITA-U has ensured that a number of online Government services have been rolled out as part of eGovernment services roadmap.

Commended for directly driving improvement in the progress report are:

eVisa: Officials says the online visa application system has reduced application time for work permits, special passes, and certificates of residence from 1 month to 5 working days.

The students’ pass takes only one day and two days for a work permit.

Programme Based Systems (PBS): The PBS, according to officials, has reduced the turn-around time and costs incurred during the budgeting process, and have eased the consolidation of the national budget.

IGG online Declaration System: The introduction of the system standardized declaration forms has enabled over 18,000 public officials to submit their bi-yearly declarations of wealth online and receive prompt acknowledgement.

e-Log Rev System: This is an online system that has been developed to help local governments to efficiently correct revenue in their districts to support service delivery.

Commenting on the development, Vincent Bagiire Waiswa, permanent secretary for ministry of ICT and National Guidance, said: “With robust infrastructure in place, bespoke eGovernment services, are the next frontiers in digitizing Uganda.”

He added: “With our partners, both Private & Public Sector, we remain committed to driving the IT revolution in the nation, our roadmap is rich and Ugandan citizens can be confident that they will start to conveniently access a number of services in the near future.”

Government will be implementing six major activities necessary for the citizens to attain the full benefit of ICT.

These include:

Government ePayment Gateway: This a Government e-Payment gateway that will facilitate electronic payments for Government services in a bid to make service delivery more efficient and responsive to the needs of the citizens and as well promote online business.

Electronic Government Procurement: This is a web-based system that covers the full procurement lifecycle, all procurement modalities, and keeps a record and audit trail of all procurement activities. This will ease & automate the government procurement process

Unified Messaging and Collaboration System: This system will provide Email, Voice, Video, Social and Instant Messaging services to government offices.

This will promote collaboration among Government Departments and Local Governments.

Government SMS Gateway: The Government SMS Gateway will allow government entities to push SMS notifications to citizens through its various e-services and applications.

This will allow for a rich online experience.

Electronic Voucher (eVoucher): Already being piloted in Kalungu, Iganga, Ntungamo and Amuru, the eVoucher provides farmers in the a specific cluster with subsidized farm inputs, improved agricultural infrastructure, post-harvest handling technologies and competitive price for inputs and outputs.

Government System Integration: This Integration of all Government systems will ensure simplicity, efficiency of access to Government services in a secure environment.

Using a single User ID (National Identification Number), citizens will have easy access to Government services, say officials.

Additionally, this will promote transparency for Government as data sharing across agencies will be seamless and digitized.

“With the concerted effort by all players in the ICT ecosystem, the journey to achieve the digitization of Uganda is within sight,” say officials.

 

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