Parliament Rejects Gov’t’s Attempt To Dissolve NITA-Uganda

Parliament Rejects Gov’t’s Attempt To Dissolve NITA-Uganda

By Spy Uganda

Kampala: Lawmakers have voted against a government Bill intended to dissolve the National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) and move its functions to the Ministry of Information, Communication, Technology and National Guidance.

The National Information Technology Authority, Uganda (Amendment) Bill, 2024, was one of several Bills seeking to give effect to the Government policy for rationalization of government agencies and public expenditure adopted by Cabinet in February 2021. Government’s rationale on merging agencies is to ensure efficiency, avoid duplication of services and stop wasteful government expenditure.

The House Committee on ICT, which scrutinized the Bill had recommended that mainstreaming of the Authority be stayed as there was no duplication of mandate between the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance and NITA-U, which demonstrated the money it contributed through issuance of licenses, permits and commercialization of the national backbone infrastructure.  

The committee noted that NITA-U had collected approximately Shs200 billion over the last 10 years and projected to collect Shs150 billion over the next five years.

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Deputy Chairperson of ICT Committee, Hon. Tonny Ayoo, said that whilst the committee supports rationalization of agencies, the Minister of ICT and National Guidance failed to demonstrate the financial drain caused by the Authority on the Consolidated Fund. 

“The ministry was tasked with policy or strategic leadership and supervision of the entire Ministry while NITA-U was mandated to regulate and coordinate and regulate ICT services in Uganda in the context of social and economic development,” said Ayoo.

He justified that NITA-U is the only IT business implementing arm of government and maintaining it as an autonomous entity will enable consolidation of all government Information Technology effort. 

“The committee recommends that NITA-U is retained as a semi-autonomous arm of government and the Bill for dissolution of NITA-U be rejected by the whole House,” Ayoo said. 

Hon. Jane Pacuto (NRM, Pakwach District Woman MP) supported the committee’s stand, enumerating revenues contributed by NITA-U, as follows; Shs18 billon in 2019/2020; Shs 21.1 billion in 2020/2021; Shs25.5 billion in 2021/2022; and Shs45.5 billion in 2022/2023. 

She added, “NITA-U is projected to collect Shs53 billion in 2023/2024, and Shs75 billion in 2025/2026.”

Bugweri County MP, Hon. Abdu Katuntu, faulted government for not conducting a study on the rationalization process.   

Both the Minister of State for ICT and National Guidance, Hon. Godfrey Baluku and the Minister of Public Service, Hon. Wilson Muruli Mukasa, fell short of convincing the Members that the Authority should be mainstreamed under their ministry.

Minister Muruli Mukasa then asked for more time to gather all the evidence required to mainstream the agencies. 

“We have agreed with the Minister of ICT that we go back and gather all this information and come back. I beg the indulgence of the Speaker,” said Muruli Mukasa. 

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