The ICT sector allocated 0.3% of the national budget
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Hon. Amos Lugoloobi who has just been recently appointed as State Minister for Finance and Planning read the National budget for the Financial year 2021/2022 where it was revealed that the ICT sector allocated 0.3% of the national budget. The UGX 44.7trillion budget was approved by the parliament of Uganda this year on 7 May.

Also read: Cabinet list reveals new Minister of ICT in Uganda, Dr Chris Baryomunsi

The ICT sector allocated 0.3% of the national budget, that is UGX 134.9billion citing a decline from the previous financial year’s 0.36% (UGX 162.9billion) despite the increasing need to boost ICT in the country caused by the pandemic. This allocated amount will go towards enhancing the digitization of the economy.

Some of the priorities for the financial year 2021/2022 according to the budget will be;

  • The extension of broadband ICT infrastructure up to the sub-county level
  • Expanding the Digital Terrestrial Television and Radio Broadcasting network to facilitate tele-education for learners
  • Facilitating the development of software solutions to support eGovernment, eCommerce and ePayment

The government, through the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology and NITA-U, has made several initiatives to improve public service delivery through automating key government processes. Processes that were previously carried out manually will be digitized, resulting in increased efficiency and production.

A lot of work remains undone as the ICT sector allocated 0.3% of the national budget

Despite apparent efforts by the government, a lot of work still remains for the sector like the costly internet rates that have limited digital penetration in Uganda. Parliament recently approved the passing of the 12% tax on mobile internet which will replace the current social media tax.

This news didn’t sit well with many as they expect the already high costs to increase further. As the government claims to work towards reducing data rates, there aren’t any evident efforts to prove this. The new data taxes will instead worsen the limited digital penetration.

The former Minister of ICT noted that this cost is expected to fall. She said, “We are laying out the infrastructure to ensure there are more users of these services so that the cost is shared.”

It was also noted that the Ministry plans on creating 500,000 (direct and indirect jobs) within the ICT sector in the next 5 years. There are also plans to provide 80 per cent of government services online.

ICT sector allocated 0.3% of the national budget has yet to perform a number of initiatives under the Minsitry of ICT that it pledged to do by the end of this year, as announced at the NRM Manifesto week, where ministries presented their successes and activities in progress since 2016.

  • 106 e-services can be accessed through the e-services portal www.ecitizen.go.ug
  • 700 laptops provided to MDAs towards adoption of eServices
  • Innovation grants have been given to 132 Innovators and to 6 private sector Innovation Hubs under the National ICT Initiatives Support Programme (NIISP)
  • 25 broadband sites upgraded from 2G to 3G providing broadband services to over 700,000 Ugandans
  • Free Wi-Fi (‘MyUg’) is provided to the general public in 284 locations in the Central Business District of Kampala and Entebbe. –There are over 2 million users on the MYUG platform each month.

Read also: A report on the Ministry of ICT’s achievements in Uganda in recent years

Various government efforts to foster digital transformation in the public sector

Judith Nabakooba, the former Minister of ICT, provided updates on the achievements the Ministry of ICT was able to achieve through collaboration with NITA-U.

Last Mile Connectivity Project

The government of Uganda through NITA-U successfully completed the implementation of 4 phases of the NBI project which connected 49 districts, 609 Government offices.

Improving Online Safety for our Children Campaign

The Ministry through NITA-U entered into a collaboration with the Internet Watch Foundation(IWF). An Online Child Sexual Abuse Reporting Portal (www.stopit.ug) has been set up and stands as one of the Ministry of ICT’s achievements in Uganda to enable citizens to report online child sexual abuse content.

Development of the ICT Park

There are plans underway for the construction of an ICT park in Entebbe under the watchful eyes of NITA-U.

The Ministry of ICT through National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U) is collaborating with other agencies like Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), Ministry of Defense, Uganda Free Zones Authority, Urban Authorities and Local governments to implement the Government’s vision for a national network of IT parks linked to nearby towns. 

Enhancing security through ICT

In a bid to increase security in different parts of the country, there has been the wide installation of CCTV camera within Kampala and major city suburbs which has notably improved security and is one of the Ministry of ICT’s achievements in Uganda.

As the ICT sector allocated 0.3% of the national budget, the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Technology has been allocated UGX 358.5billion an increment from the previous financial year’s UGX 264.5billion. The allocated amount is meant to support advancement in scientific research and innovation, the construction of the National Automotive Park will commence next year.

The Ministry also plans on commencing with feasibility studies for Regional Science and Technology Parks and Technology and Business incubators.

Read more: The Ministry of Science innovation fund provides a great funding opportunity for innovators

ICT sector allocations from EAC countries

According to the East Africa Community (EAC) Treaty, partner states are required to read their budgets simultaneously. But only the three founding member states – Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania – read their budgets yesterday.

While Uganda’s ICT sector allocated 0.3% of the national budget, Kenya’s national budget allocated an amount of Ksh 20.9billion (UGX 682bn) to facilitate the ICT sector. This will be used to facilitate ecommerce and efficient delivery of public services.

In addition, it will contribute to the training and equipping of ICT interns to oversee online learning during this period. The overall amount allocated to the sector could not be clearly ascertained, however.

Get more information on the national budget of Uganda and other sectors through this LINK.

Read more: Ministry of ICT awards innovators under NIISP with Shs 7.3billion reward

READ: Ugandan-born Shamim Nabuuma named among Bloomberg’s New Economy Catalysts

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