The Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has commended the ICT and National Guidance Ministry for initiating the ‘Digital Uganda Vision’. He observed that Government lists ICT as a priority in both Vision 2040 and NDPII because it enhances the country’s social and economic transformation.
Rugunda said Government’s main focus in the ICT is to create a conducive environment and appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks that foster private sector ICT led innovations. The Premier made the remarks during the opening ceremony of the ICT Sector Working Group and Consultative Meeting for “Digital Uganda Vision” which was held at Sheraton Hotel Kampala.
He said ICT was no longer a luxury but an essential tool in the socio-economic transformation of the country. ‘ICT helps to enhance communication and is also a prime enabling sector for rapid growth and modernization of other various sectors of the economy’, Dr Rugunda said adding ‘Uganda is one of the fastest growing ICT markets in the world, fueled largely by cellular mobile revolution and computers’.
While commending all those MDAs that have digitalized and now provide E-government services, he however noted that there are a number of challenges still impeding the faster development of the ICT sector. They include low data coverage in some parts of the country, disjointed ICT policies and programs in some MDAs and slow implementation and usage of E-government services such as ID registration, passport application among others.
He urged all stakeholders in the sector to study citizen expectations and behavioral changes so as to formulate innovations and better ways of getting services to them.
The Minister of ICT and National Guidance Frank Tumwebaze, noted that the consultative meeting was intended to shape and formulate a common country ICT policy that all citizens own and relate to. He said that the Digital Uganda Vision will include a plan that guides all Government Ministries and Agencies regarding the ICT sector.
Tumwebaze was optimistic that the Policy if implemented, will enhance the country’s growth. He said government was engaging the telecom companies to find solutions on how to lower the cost of data to enable every citizen to access on line content.
The Permanent Secretary of ICT and National Guidance Vincent Bagiire said there was need to improve the country’s ranking in ICT by re-examining the ICT policies. The workshop was attended by Government officials, Telecommunications Operators and key partners.
BY DOREEN NASASIRA