This has angered ICT stakeholders, who are now questioning the government’s commitment to support the sector that is believed to be one of Uganda’s key economic drivers.
“It is contradictory that ICT is the main driver of growth and yet all the revenues IT generates are taken awat. How do you expect the industry to grow when you are not investing back?” said Geoffrey Mutabazi, executive director of Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) in an article published by the Daily Monitor newspaper.
Mutabazi called on players in the private sector to invest in the under funded ICT sector.
“But again government has several ICT projects such as e-governance, e-education and e-health which need funding. Let us wait and see how the private sector will develop ICT in Uganda,” said Mutabazi.
Entrepreneurs decried treasury’s move arguing that ICT has been one of the fastest growing sectors in the country and should be well funded, citing the fact that telecoms are the biggest taxpayers in the country.
Micheal Niyitegeka, the corporate relations officer at Makerere University College of Computing and Information Science (CIS) was however quoted by the Daily Monitor Newspaper defending the move.
“Before you analyse how much has been allocated, we need to first look at what we already have and its significance. Much of the ICT resources available are still under-utilised,” said Niyitegeka.
In a positive move the Government has reduced import duty on set-top boxes from 25% to 0% for a period of one year, and is expected to increase the adoption of set top boxes which form an integral part of analogue to digital migration .
A set-top box is a device that enables a television set to receive and decode digital television (DTV) broadcasts. The device is necessary to television viewers who wish to use their current analogue television sets to receive digital broadcasts.
As a member country of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Uganda is required to migrate from analogue to digital terrestrial TV broadcasting by 17 June 2015.
By Dinfin Mulupi