The Minister of ICT and National Guidance, Frank Tumwebaze has said that the Digital Vision that is currently being developed will see all government agencies integrated to increase efficiency in access to services.
Tumwebaze said that the harmonized digital agenda seeks to clearly set out milestones for the different sectors across government and keep track of what is being done.
“The Digital vision will be the overall policy ICT framework for the country. It will set targets, milestones, ICT basic standards for each sector of government to follow and implement,” Tumwebaze said while speaking Thursday at a consultative workshop for ICT stakeholders held at Sheraton Kampala Hotel.
The forum which was presided over by Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda brought together policy makers, communication agencies, ICT technocrats, innovators, developers, telecom service providers and the public.
“Integration of government systems aimed at increasing efficiency in the delivery of public services and fighting duplication of functions, cannot be complete without a clear digital vision understood by the whole government and setting out milestones for each sector.”
Tumwebaze stressed that the rapid changes in technological trends and globalization have made it inevitable for governments to innovate as a way of responding to citizens’ needs.
“For all this to happen, clear policy instruments discussed and bought-in by all stakeholders have to be put in place so as to create an enabling environment,” he added.
Once the document is complete and passed by Cabinet, each sector of government will be audited and assessed on compliance with its sectoral ICT targets.
In addition, the Digital Vision will enumerate measures on how to enhance digital literacy among the population, set milestones for Uganda’s future investment in satellite communication which Tumwebaze says is the most reliable means and least prone to disasters.
However, just like the private sector, barriers such as inadequate infrastructure and the cost of internet have affected government’s efforts to digitize most of its services.
But the Minister revealed that “government has already concluded the procurement of Bulk Internet Bandwidth for MDAs/Local Governments which shall lead to a reduction in the cost of Internet Bandwidth.”
Effective July 1, the cost of internet shall reduce from USD300 to USD190 per megabits per second per month for all government agencies, ministries and departments as well as hospitals, research institutions, Business Process Outsourcing agencies and innovation hubs.
“Even then, we want this cost to go down further and also go down in tandem with what the private operators are charging. We are aware of the high costs of data in our domestic market and we are trying to understand the push factors beyond what we know,” the minister said.