- NITA-U in the process of drafting an ICT Practitioners /Professionals Bill that will be used for regulation of the ICT profession
In September this year, government revealed that it had earmarked an annual fund of Ushs. 15billion to support innovators.
Announced by the Minister of ICT, the decision was reached at the realization that “what most of our people, especially students who innovate (develop) stop(s) at laboratories; good innovations are not translated into finished products and end up only as experiments”, according to the Minister, Hon. Frank Tumwebaze, as quoted by Daily Monitor.
But the challenges that have faced the young innovators have been, in some cases, a mirror of the overall industry challenges. A few years ago, the private sector undertook to form an umbrella Association, the ICTAU, with a goal of not just supporting upcoming talent, but also offering professional guidance to key stakeholders, including government.
But the Association, some say, has not had the impact its founders envisaged. This writer spoke to James Saaka, the Executive Director of the National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U), about why it has been difficult to form a strong Private Sector Association.
“It has been difficult to set up a strong private association for ICT in Uganda mainly because of lack of commitment from the ICT fraternity, and that the current associations are not backed up by the law,” said Jame Saaka
“[Also], ICT as a profession is not well defined,” Saaka added.
He however maintains that the importance of a strong sector association can never be understated.
“IT Professionals Association sets the environment for growth and competitiveness of the ICT Industry players and an avenue for regulating the Sector. A strong ICT Association helps self regulation of the sector. This as a result promotes ICT as an Industry for social and economic development,” continued Mr. Saaka.
He emphasized that government is working with key stakeholders from the Private and Public sector to get a good understanding of the objectives of a vibrant ICT Association.
“Once we get consensus we would like to move and [facilitated its creation]. However, alongside, we are drafting an ICT Practitioners /Professionals Bill that will be used for regulation of the ICT profession. So a strong ICT Association together with the ICT Practitioners / Professionals bill will create that much required environment for self regulation,” concluded Mr. Saaka.
Members of the ICT Association will meet next week on Tuesday 18th to discuss ways in which the Association can be strengthened. You can click here to book your seat (you will need to be a registered, paid-up member and have a Google Account).
UPDATE: There is an ongoing 50% discount on all fees indicated on the ICTAU website.