While speaking at the ongoing Huawei ICT Congress at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala, NITA-U Executive Director, Dr. Hatwib Mugasa said Uganda is now saving over UGX4 trillion (roughly USD$1.1 billion) annually in costs because of the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) Project.
Dr. Mugasa expressed that because of the NBI Project, government services have managed to go online with more than 1,400 Ministries, Agencies, and Local Government (MDAs) offices now utilizing e-Services such as integrated management systems, e-tax, e-passports, hence saving a huge chunk of money and time that would have been spent on making services available to Ugandans.
“By digitalizing government processes and hosting them at the National Data Centre, NITA-U has managed to saves the government more than UGX4 trillion (roughly USD$1.1 billion) annually in direct public expenditure,” says Dr. Mugasa. “This cuts cost that would have to be spent on paper, manual processes, and data centres service fees for each MDA.”
Dr. Mugasa applauded Huawei Technologies whom they have been working with for more than 10 years since the National Backbone Infrastructure/e-Government Infrastructure (NBI/EGI) Project was started —rolling out over 4,172km of backbone fibre cable in over 62 districts across the country.
After the Fourth Phase of the NBI/EGI Project which extends internet connectivity to districts of Pakwach, Nebbi, Arua, Yumbe, Koboko, Adjumani, Katakwi, and the border points of, Oraba, Vurra, and Mpondwe. The government through NITA-U launched the commissioned the “Last Mile Phase” to extend internet connectivity to the grassroots user all the way to the Parish.
Dr. Mugasa confirmed that “In a few weeks from now, NITA-U shall have completed 764KM under the Last Mile Phase and citizens shall be able to access e-Government services at 1,400 administrative locations.”
Ms. Amy Xia, Huawei’s Vice President Enterprise Business Group emphasized the need for digitalization because it is currently an industry consensus. She noted that Huawei has heavily invested in research and development to benefit countries like Uganda and aid them in their digital process.
“As digital transformation has become an industry consensus, the focus has been shifted from whether or not to go digital, to how to go digital,” said Xia. “Huawei has invested heavily in research and development for Uganda so that we can achieve the creation of new value together.”
Xia said they have carefully considered exhibiting the various technologies such as 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, among others so that Huawei Technologies can “walk together with Uganda on their [Uganda] digital journey.”
The Minister of ICT and National Guidance Hon. Chris Baryomunsi while delivering his remarks yesterday at the Huawei ICT Congress said the government is fast-tracking digital in order to achieve the 2040 Digital Vision.
“One of the reasons why we came up with the 2040 Uganda Digital Vision is to effectively use and encourage the adoption of mature and emerging technologies,” said Baryomunsi. “So I am deeply impressed by Huawei’s advanced technology, especially their Huawei achievements in network security and 5G technology.”
According to Baryomunsi, ICT is one of Uganda’s fastest-growing sectors and a major driver to Uganda’s middle-income status just as the 2040 Digital vision states. He emphasized that because of this reason, the government is fast-tracking digital to harness new emerging technologies such as 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data exhibited at the Huawei ICT Congress.
“We need to look to the future of digital and start implementing the necessary digital infrastructure so that we are not left behind,” Baryomunsi said. Adding that “In building robust ultra-high speed, pervasive, intelligent and trusted high-speed ICT infrastructure across the country, the government has diligently worked towards expanding the nation’s digitalization in a number of fields, in order to unleash the multiplier effect of ICT on associated secondary and tertiary industries for tremendous impact on the economy.”
The Huawei ICT Congress 2022 is a mirror of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) which is annually held in Barcelona where Huawei has been a top exhibitor showcasing the latest technology.
The Huawei ICT Congress 2022 with the theme “Lighting up the Future” organized by Huawei Uganda is aimed at helping businesses and ICT users such as governments, telecoms, regulators, and enterprises innovate business models, improve quality and efficiency, enhance the experience, and strengthen resilience in their digital work and productivity, and digital service processes.