ICT minister Ssebugwawo wants NITA-U to reduce internet costs

ICT minister Ssebugwawo wants NITA-U to reduce internet costs.

State Minister for Information and Communication Technology-ICT, Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo. PHOTO/FILE/COURTESY.

 The State Minister for Information and Communication Technology-ICT, Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo has directed the National Information Technology Authority Uganda-NITA-U, to reduce the cost of internet in order to ease the cost of doing business.

Uganda is ranked number one country with the most expensive mobile data in East Africa, and the eighteenth most expensive in sub-Saharan Africa according to available research.

This has led to slow internet penetration and limited use even for those who are connected. But despite the not-so-rosy ranking, the government introduced a 12 percent tax on internet data, effective July this year, further hiking the cost of online access.

Ssebugwawo reasons that having become a must-have for all businesses, it’s important that the cost of internet is affordable especially for startups and small business enterprises. She was speaking on Wednesday at the Ministry of ICT in Kampala to inaugurate the first-ever Business Processing Outsourcing-BPO and Innovation Council.

According to the minister, ICT being one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, is capable of creating at least 100,000 new jobs in the next three years. And therefore, she said it is crucial that the government improves the internet infrastructure in order to facilitate the growth of ICT innovations.

Ssebugwawo also urged all government agencies not to outsource ICT facilities and software, if they can be locally made by Ugandans.

Dr Amina Zawedde, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance said they want Uganda to be an active participant in the global market for ICT. She said it’s a shame that young people continue to leave the country to do odd jobs in faraway lands yet they have the competencies to develop software that is highly sought after internationally.

The Business Processing Outsourcing-BPO and Innovation Council will be chaired by former Makerere University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor William Bazeyo who will be deputized by Dr Isabella Kiconco. Other members include, Rajeev Agarwal, Irene Kalungi Ssekitoleeko, Eva Mugerwa, Rowena Turinawe, Fred Otunnu, Richard Okuti, Richard Zulu, Dr Hawa Nyende, Dr Diana Nandagire Natmu, Charles Auk and Angela Ndagano.

Upon appointment, Bazeyo promised that they will deliver to the expectation of the appointing authority.

“We need to support our government to create jobs. We want our people to work as specialists from home. We will do what it takes to save the youth from unemployment, there is a window for Uganda to create jobs for them and the BOP council will try and do this as soon as possible,” Bazeyo said.