The State Minister for Information and Communication Technology-ICT, Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo has directed the National Information Technology Authority Uganda-NITA-U to reduce the cost of internet in order to ease or reduce the cost of doing business online.
Speaking at the inauguration of the first-ever Business Processing Outsourcing-BPO and Innovation Council on Wednesday at the ministry’s headquarters, Ssebugwawo said the outbreak of covid-19 has led to an increase in usage of internet so there is a need in reduction of internet costs to allow the online business to thrive.
She added that now that the internet is increasingly becoming a must-have for all businesses, it’s important that its cost is affordable especially for startups and small business enterprises.
“ICT sector is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy. It is capable of creating at least 100,000 new jobs in the next three years. It is imperative that the government improves the internet infrastructure in order to facilitate the growth of ICT innovations. So I call upon all government agencies not to outsource ICT facilities and software if they can be locally made by Ugandans,”the minister said.
Currently, in East Africa, Uganda has the most expensive mobile data and it is the eighteenth most expensive in sub-Saharan Africa. Unfortunately, besides being expensive, it is slow to use even for those who are connected.
Secondly the introduction of 12 percent tax on internet data, effective July this year, further hiked the cost of online access.
Dorothy Mukasa, Chief Executive Officer of Unwanted Witness, told this website that the introduction of taxes made the internet in Uganda become unaffordable.
“Internet has become a factor of production … for any investor to make investment decision they have to make sure there’s good internet connectivity for them to be able to function,” she said.
“But now the same government which is wooing investors is the same government hiking cost of production …connectivity is poor and now the cost is so high, how will somebody invest and get value for money?” Ms Mukasa wondered.
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