The Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Hon. Judith Nabakooba on Thursday toured the transmission sites in Masaka and Mutukula that are connected to the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) and was accompanied by the National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) Executive Director, Dr. Hatwib Mugasa.
The Minister was in Masaka to officially open a Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) branch —which she said was a milestone to the registration body [URSB].
Prior opening the URSB Masaka branch, Nabakooba toured the transmission sites in Masaka which are the communications hub in the City providing access to services in a transparent and effective way to both public and the private sectors. The sites are part of the government’s National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) project that seeks to connect districts and towns across the country via an optical fibre cable network —to reduce the cost of the internet, support delivery of secure e-Government services as well as enhance communications services in Uganda.
In Masaka, so far the Ministry through NITA-U has connected 14 Government entities including; Bank of Uganda, Electoral Commission, NSSF, NIRA, NWSC, URA, Kitovu Hospital, Micro Finance Support Center, Nkozi University, Masaka Referral Hospital Marie Stopes Clinic. And now adds URSB.
Nabakooba was proud to say that the Masaka Refferal hospital which we connected under phase 3 of the NBI project has been able to apply telemedicine services as well as automate patient records through integrated its Health Management System.
While addressing members of the press at the opening of the URSB Masaka branch, Nabakooba said, “ICT is a vital enabler of ensuring efficient and cost effective service delivery to citizens. My Ministry has been working hard on several fronts to improve service delivery across the country through working hard to have an automated government to deliver e-Services to its citizens.”
“To achieve this, government is utilizing the National Optical Fiber Cable Backbone installed along all highways to Kampala to connect government offices to the internet to ensure automation within government,” Nabakooba adds.
The government though NITA-U completed the implementation of the Phase IV of the NBI Project last year, successfully connecting 49 districts, 609 government offices, and are now are implementing the Last Mile Connectivity Project which is aimed at further expanding the coverage of the NBI through laying of approximately 732km of fiber optic cable and connecting an additional 700 sites to the NBI with an additional 300 Wi-Fi Hotspots.
So, far a cumulative total of 350 out of 700 sites including but not limited to Local Governments, hospitals, schools, universities, among others have been connected under the Last Mile Project.
Nabakooba after opening the URSB branch in Masaka, she headed to Mutukula, border town between Uganda and Tanzania where she inspected the Police, URA, Immigration office, and Minister of Agriculture on how they utilizing the internet to deliver services to citizens.
Nabakooba said Uganda is now a fully-fledged communications hub with 7 of its major border posts all connected to the NBI which further strengthens regional ties.