Minister Tumwebaze meets Top Management of the ICT Sector
Following the merger of the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and the Ministry of Information and National Guidance into one Ministry, the Minister of ICT and National Guidance, Frank Tumwebaze, convened a one day retreat for Top Management of the Ministry, with the objective of discussing strategies for implementing the directives that were issued by President Yoweri Museveni to the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister for immediate operationalization of the merger. Key among them was the proposed organizational structure of the Ministry and its Agencies. The reasons for merging the two Ministries were mainly to facilitate effective communication of government programmes in all the many communication Platforms (TVs, Radios, Newspapers, Social media, etc.), to rule out duplication of roles among government agencies of communication and to ensure easy coordination of all government communication players.
Hon Frank Tumwebaze said the retreat was to firm up the agenda for the sector following the reorganization and merger of the sector. The Minister highlighted the key issues in the Presidential Directives about the merger. These included stopping bias reporting by media houses; monitoring of the media including the Internet; ensuring coherent communication among Government agencies; assembling computers in Uganda; promoting ICT innovation; and attracting and retaining quality human resource in ICT.
The Minister requested the meeting to refine the name of the new Ministry which had hitherto been called the Ministry of Information, ICT and Communications. He proposed that the new Ministry should be called ‘Ministry of ICT and National Guidance’. He presented the Presidential Directive on Effective Goverment Communication which included the following:
- to review mandates of the agencies under the new Ministry to ensure that there is no duplication of roles;
- to identify strategies for systematic gathering and dissemination of information (content on government programmes);
- to develop Cabinet paper detailing measures on how to improve government communication;
- to advise on how to recruit and deploy communication officers in Government ministries, with the Ministry of ICT as their parent home;
- to ensure that each MDA has up-to-date ICT infrastructure (websites and social media pages); and to
- to ensure that duplication of ICT programmes in MDAs is stopped.
The President further directed that the new Ministry should take lead in multi-ICT innovations that can be used by all Government agencies in a linked manner/system (eGovernment) as was the case for the ID project.
Further to the above, the Minister highlighted other directives from President Museveni to the Ministry of ICT as follows:
- To stop the criminally irresponsible biased reporting by many of the media houses because it brings a wrong image of the country, especially to outsiders;
- To develop electronics to influence all aspects of human endeavor – factories, transport, mathematics, aero-space knowledge, defence, etc. and that the Ministry should propagate the use of electronics in Uganda and supervise the mastering of this technology.
The President also said that the Ministry of ICT should, initially, encourage assembling of computers in Uganda and do away with importing already assembled computers – old and new. "Eventually, we build our own computers", he stressed.
The Permanent Secretary of the ICT MInistry, Dr. Jimmy Pat Saamanya, gave background to the meeting. He said the meeting was intended to discuss strategies for operationalizing the merger between the Ministry of ICT and the Ministry of Information and National Guidance, including the transfer of several agencies to be under the Ministry, such as the Uganda Media Centre, UBC, the New Vision, UCC, NITA-U, Media Council and Broadcasting Council. He observed that the inaugural address by the Minister would provide strategic direction for the Sector.
The retreat was attended by Top Management from the Ministry of ICT and its affiliated agencies. Action plan for implementing the Presidential was developed at the retreat.