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Parliament Approves UGX 94.5bn Additional Funding to ICT Sector

The funds cover 68 billion shillings for broadband infrastructure and connectivity to tourist sites, 18.5 billion shillings to complete the revamp process at Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) and 7 billion shillings to the Innovation Fund.

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Parliament has approved a proposal to allocate an extra 94.5 Billion shillings to the Information, Communications Technology and National Guidance sector in the 2019/2020 budget.

   

This is after the House adopted the report of the ICT and National Guidance Committee that made the recommendation that the sector is given more funds for certain activities in the next financial year.  

The committee considered and made recommendations on the ministerial statement that includes the ICT ministry, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC), National Information Technology Authority of Uganda (NITA-U), Uganda Posts Limited (UPL) and Uganda Institute of Information and Communications Technology (UICT).   

Among the key recommendations is allocation of extra funds for three key priorities in the sector.   The funds cover 68 billion shillings for broadband infrastructure and connectivity to tourist sites,   18.5 billion shillings to complete the revamp process at Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) and 7 billion shillings to the Innovation Fund.  

The committee chairperson, Annet Nyakecho while presenting the report on the ICT ministerial statement on Thursday urged the House to approve the allocation of extra funds, especially for connectivity to tourist sites, UBC revamp and the Innovation Fund.  

The Innovation Fund was set up to implement the National ICT Innovations Support Programme.

Nyakecho noted that the Fund was allocated the same amount of 13 billion shillings in 2018/2019 budget.  The Fund disbursed grants worth 2.5 billion shillings to 10 out of 350 applicants. The beneficiaries-8 males and 2 females, used the money to develop ICT systems to improve service delivery in agriculture, health, education and energy.  

//Cue in: “On the issue…    Cue out:…ever dynamic needs.”//   Nyakecho also reminded the MPs that President Yoweri Museveni in 2016, pledged 20 billion shillings to revamp UBC, to carry out its mandate as a national broadcaster.  President Museveni directed that the ministry of finance should release a bailout of 20 billion shillings to save UBC from an accumulated debt of about 29 billion shillings. 

//Cue in: “This House is….   

Cue out:…the national broadcaster.”//  

Nyakecho, however, proposed that out of the 9.6 billion shillings allocated to UBC for recurrent and development expenditure in 2019/2020, the ministry must ring-fence 4.5 billion shillings for content development and maintenance. Also, 3.5 billion shillings should be spent on making UBC a competitive employer.    

//Cue in: “Right Honourable Speaker…      

Cue out:…make UBC competitive.”//  

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