Govt Predicts Widespread Internet Usage

James Saaka, the executive director of the National Information Technology Authority (NITA), has assured Ugandans to brace for lower internet charges as the industry grows.

Speaking at the closing of the Mozilla Uganda community East African festival at Makerere University’s college of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology on July 13, Saaka said the country needed to push for the less expensive open-source software to widen the pool of Ugandans who can access ICT services.

“Uganda has a large number of IT-skilled innovators who are finding it very expensive to afford some software to develop their skills. We are negotiating with the ministry of Finance to waive taxes off computers to increase on the IT awareness because six million users is too small a number,” he said.

He also said they are encouraging innovators to come up with applications that use the cheaper solar energy.

“Entrepreneurship training is very vital in turning innovations into money ventures. In this, we have to protect the intellectual properties of our innovators so that their ideas are not stolen,” Saaka said.

Saaka explained that there are many cases in court over intellectual property infringement. To fight this, NITA is working on an accreditation and certification policy for IT trainers, professionals and service providers.

“We credit Mozilla for coming up with open-source software because it’s going to grow in Uganda and NITA is ready and willing to help such providers in any way possible,” he said.

He said good internet service can help producers market their products better. According to Mark Surman, the executive director of the Mozilla Foundation, they plan to come up with phones that can create apps using basic technology.

“We want to come up with phones that can create open web apps using basic technology that can innovate and adapt using Firefox,” Surman said. He commended Uganda for its effort in spreading internet usage.

Participants from universities, schools such as Makerere College School, Mt St Mary’s College Namagunga and individuals graced the festival, where they displayed their innovations.

Source : The Observer

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