KAMPALA– The Executive Director of the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) – the regulator of the communications sector in Uganda Mr. Godfrey Mutabazi has called on government agencies and other partners to embrace ICT as the country strives to achieve the national broadband policy.
Mr Mutabazi made the remarks on Tuesday as he addressed hundreds of people during the ninth Annual CEO FORUM held at Serena hotel in Kampala.
“As a country, we need to tackle the low levels of awareness and digital literacy, which has made us late adopters of technology in most cases,” he said adding that Uganda needs to seriously boost and support innovation and the digitization of local content.
He said this should boost the level of development especially in e-services including e-government.
He said Ugandans should take advantage of emerging technologies leverage on the power of connectivity in order to harness the benefits of emerging technologies, deliberate efforts need to be made towards addressing identified challenges.
Uganda currently stands at 3G mobile technologies with parts of the countryside still under 2G coverage service. Such coverage, however, is only ideal for voice services but not data.
Mr Mutabazi now believes it is time for the country to begin exploring opportunities for deployment of the more advanced 5G.
But, to achieve this, both the government and the private sector need to invest in network expansion as well as innovative infrastructure deployment mechanisms and models.
“As we extend to connectivity, there is also urgent need to further stimulate demand through interventions to ensure that communications services and devices are affordable,” he said.
Bad, traditional policies
At policies, Mr. Mutabazi called for the need to create favorable and progressive tax regime that encourages investment and consumption of communications devices with an imp emphasis, increased digital literacy among the consumers and promote the development and packaging of local content.
He explained that “current policy development and business processes seem very traditional and linear. Yet the technology space is highly competitive and dynamic,” he said that technology companies require quick and flexible business procedures and requirements to be able to thrive.
In Uganda today, technology developments are outpacing the policy and regulatory development process which calls for government innervations and the need to needs to review its processes to enable the country benefit from the technological advancements and position Uganda as a leader in technology adoption.
With that on the play, Mr. Mutabazi wants the government to harness the power of collaboration with other sectors and agencies so as to leverage on the synergies that exist and initiatives geared towards collaborations in deployment and protection of infrastructure to further reduce associated costs.
Hon. David Bahati State Minister of Finance for Planning who represented Dr Ruhakan Rugunda, Prime Minister delivered the keynote address at the summit said he was delighted to open this year’s CEO summit.
“We are at a time when we are reviewing the NDP II and strategically planning for NDP III to inform our economic direction and the ministry of finance doors is open to allow your contribution
The forum brings together the region’s best business and industry minds to engage with thought leaders, public sector practitioners, development actors and each other with a view to engendering insights into influencing and implementing solutions.
The Forum was first held in 2009, as a response to the financial meltdown of 2008, as a platform for the captains of industry to debate and re-think the economy, to drive mutually-beneficial partnerships to address each other’s woes, and to become catalysts for action and for change.