The government of Uganda through the Ministry of Finance on Thursday 11th, May 2020 passed the FY2020/21 National Budget reading, revealing the ICT and National Guidance sector gets 0.36% (UGX162.9 billion) of the UGX45.5 trillion. The budget was delivered to members of parliament by the Minister of Finance; Hon. Matia Kasaija and to the H.E. President Yoweri Museveni who followed and delivered his speech and remarks digitally from State House in Entebbe.
This financial year budget for the sector gets an increment from UGX146.2 billion (0.36% of UGX40 trillion) of the FY2019/20 budget. The money will be used perhaps by the sector to complete some of its tasks and pledges such as; continuous extension of the NBI Network to districts, departments and agencies, creating more fibre optic network links, among others. These pledges the sector looks at working on were revealed last month during the NRM manifesto week — a week where Ministries come out to showcase the sector’s achievements over the last four years.
Some of the pledges the sector looks at working on include but not limited to;
- Developing an ICT innovation framework, which will, among others, guide on innovation areas, funding opportunities and innovation partners, clients and innovation resources.
- Supporting existing hubs through training, affordable bandwidth, mentoring and innovation infrastructure.
- A mentoring and coaching centre for SMEs will be established for quality assurance. This measure will also be complimented with support to SMEs certification and standardization of local products.
- Targeting areas for innovation and linking them up with private sector innovators, with a view of developing viable solutions for commercialization.
- Establishing multi-purpose ICT parks which will attract both foreign and domestic entrepreneurs.
- Establishing ICT innovation Centres of Excellence.
- Creating and implementing appropriate incentive schemes for BPO operators and IT innovators. Furthermore, we will market Uganda’s BPOs to the external market.
The President further gave directives to the sector clearly spelling out specific interventions in achieving the set out plans before end of 2021. Thereby, the money allocated to the sector will be much of use. His directives included;
- Stoping the criminally irresponsible and biased reporting by media houses.
- Propagating the use of electronics in Uganda and supervise the mastering of this technology.
- Encouraging the assembling of computers in Uganda and do away with importing already assembled computers ─ old or new. Eventually, to build our own computers and mobile devices.
- Accelerating the roll-out of ICT-based community centers.
The ICT and National Guidance has with no doubt have its services have perform well over the period.
During the State of Nation Address delivered by the President early this month, said that the ICT sector is one of the country’s real economy — employing 1,282,818 persons with 380,896 companies engaged in information technology, telecommunications, broadcasting, postal and courier and audio-visual.
The Minister of ICT and National Guidance; Hon. Judith Nabakooba during the NRM Manifesto Week announced some of the achievements the sector has accomplished, among which include;
- A total of about 4,000KMs of fiber optic cable has been laid.
- 480 government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) and local government (LGs) have been connected to the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI).
- Over USD$200 million (roughly UGX757.9 billion) has been generated from commercialization on the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) in the last five years.
- 31 police stations and 9 UPDF sites have been connected to the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI).
- Free Wi-Fi connectivity, MyUG is provided to the general public in 284 locations in the Kampala and Entebbe from 5PM to 6AM.
- The National Broadband Policy 2018 was approved.
- 17 regulations developed under the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) Act 2013.
- The National data centre and disaster recovery site have been upgraded to the Tier 3 classification hosting 60 MDAs, over 90 critical applications and 358 websites.
- The National strategy on the fourth industrial revolution has been developed to guide the country in the adoption of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, and 5G.
- Government Citizens Interaction Centre (GCIC) has been strengthen to provide social media communication on government programmes.
Meanwhile, on the other the Science, Technology and Innovation received 0.58% (UGX264.5 billion) of the budget. In this sector, core projects have, too progressed well: the Machining Manufacturing and Industrial Skills Training Centre (MMISTC) at Namanve was commissioned in January 2020. The centre will provide industrial skills training and apprenticeship, and manufacture high quality precision machine parts and accessories.
The first phase of the construction of the Kiira Vehicle Plant at the Jinja Industrial Park is 50% complete, and two Kayoola Electric Buses have since been developed, assembled and tested under a technology transfer project with China High-Tech Corporation.