Government set to Lower cost of Internet Data

By Ambrose Gahene

The ICT and National Guidance Minister Frank Tumwebaze; has said that the cost of internet data will soon be lowered. Minister Tumwebaze made the remarks during the 4th Leo Africa Economic Forum, held last Friday at Kampala Serena Hotel. The economic dialogue was organized by LéO Africa Institute, which brought together youth innovators.

“We want to make an intervention of policy nature that is informed correctly,” he said, adding that government will address data cost problems through a policy framework and regulations.

“As a sector, we are coming up with a digital vision for the country. This digital vision is going to be a selling milestone for each sector and it will define what each ministry should do to enhance ICT,” he added.

Minister Tumwebaze further advised Ugandan youth not to sell their innovations cheaply for quick money, saying the future is bright. He in addition said; Uganda has the ICT innovation programme and it was passed by Parliament to push for innovations, while the government allows the private sector to take a lead on data security.

“With increasing Connectivity, the Digital Divide can only get Smaller. Connectivity will bring inclusion. We want to make an intervention of policy nature that is informed correctly as regards innovation,” he pointed out further.

Tumwebaze further said; as Governments, they have a role to encourage innovations and protect consumers and innovators. “In future, we shall get wider apart offline, yet more connected online. We are also moving towards a cashless society.”

He added: “We are talking of having all Government services accessed online. We call this e-Government. No one expected Mobile Money, WhatsApp to be part of our daily lives.”

In government, he said; the answer to disruptive technologies must be creating policy labs, adding that what is cutting edge innovation today will be disrupted by new technologies of tomorrow.

Lucy Biteete, a panelist; said to innovate, one needs to be knowledgeable about the market, target audience and the foundation.

“This goes to Government; Innovators can’t be procured the way you procure office chairs. Banks and Government need to change the way they look at innovation, they need to bring Innovators on board.”

She said to develop a successful software project, “you must focus on processes. To innovate, you need to know your domain”.

Lucy Mbabazi, another panelist, said passionate leadership is going to bring change and elevate Innovation. “Many times Governments are looking outside their countries to find solutions to their challenges, “Mbabazi pointed out, adding: “Where we struggle as a continent is on research and development. With this comes Intellectual property.”

CK Japheth, another panelist; said Innovators face many challenges but connectivity; partnerships with the market and access to credit are some of the major challenges.

According to Japheth, the Tech-Innovation Industry of East Africa will be a billion-dollar industry by 2019. “For Innovations to work, public-private partnerships must begin to function.

Connectivity, Partnerships with the market, access to credit are some of the challenges Innovators are facing,” he said.

Uganda Government has constructed a Technology Hub in Nakawa for Innovators to work on their ideas and scale them.

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