Gov’t Slashes Internet Prices By 50% To Boost Growth Of ICT Sector

Gov’t Slashes Internet Prices By 50% To Boost Growth Of ICT Sector

By Spy Uganda

The Minister of ICT and National Guidance Hon Chris Baryomunsi has commended the National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) for accelerating the country’s digital transformation which is seen as a big boost to Uganda’s economic development.

During a presser held at Uganda Media Centre, Baryomunsi noted that over the years, the Government of Uganda has prioritized ICT as a catalyst for not only improving its efficiency in the delivery of public services but for overall socio-economic development and despite the global economic slowdown, the ICT sector has continued to grow.

”Since the liberalization of Uganda`s ICT sector, the sector has continued to grow, despite the global economic slowdown contributing to thereabout 6% of the country`s GDP. I, therefore, take this opportunity to that the NITA-U team for accelerating the country`s Digital transformation,” noted Hon Chris.

During the same presser, the Hon Minister announced that effective 1st of August 2023, the government has reduced the price of the internet from 70$ to 35$ per Mbps per month.

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It’s worth noting that the cabinet in the FY 2012/13 approved the strategy for rationalization and harmonization of the utilization of ICT services in Government MDAs and DLGs. The purpose of that strategy was to eliminate the wastage of pubic resources arising from duplication of efforts and initiatives within the Government. One of the priority interventions emphasized under that strategy was the “Use of the National Backbone and E-Government Infrastructure (NBI) as the primary vehicle for all Government data, Internet and voice services”.

In the FY 2012/13 National IT Authority (NITA-U) had expeditiously implemented the first phases of NBI to serve as the primary vehicle for all Government data, Internet and voice services but Internet prices were about 1,200 $ per MBPs then Government through NITA-U reduced prices to 600 $ in 2014 and further 300 $ in 2016 as more Government MDAs and public offices were connected to the NBI.

Now, Hon Minister Baryomunsi says, the use of the NBI as a secure highspeed network for the Government has led to lowering the cost of communication across and further enabled the extension of the geographic reach of broadband networks across the country and altogether Improved Government’s efficiency and transparency through e-Government applications.

”The National Backbone now extends to all regions of the country spanning 4,300km extending connectivity to around 4,360 Government offices,” said Baryomunsi adding;

”I would like to note that this price reduction means Government Offices connected to the NBI will consume the internet at the lowest price in the market. This price cut will also benefit the special interest groups that are connected to the backbone like Business Process Centers (BPO), hospitals, schools, Innovation Centers and many more.”

With this bold move, Baryomunsi believes that NITA-U will drive substantial savings on the government’s communication budget, catalyze the adoption of e-government services, and deepen digitization.

On his part, the NITA Uganda Executive Director Dr. Hatwib Mugasa noted that they are committed to further low bandwidth costs, deepening digitization, and accelerating e-services usage while at the same time lowering gov’t expenditure through shared IT services like Internet and centralized.

He added that NITA-U to-date has connected 1,466 government offices, and extended connectivity to 53 Districts and 10 border posts.

”NITA-U has been working hard to consistently lower the cost of internet bandwidth in Uganda, especially for Government institutions since they provide onward services to ordinary citizens and the private sector as well,” noted Mugasa adding that the Authority has completed the implementation of the phases of the NBI/EGI Project with the implementation of the 5th phase planned to start soon.

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