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MICT pumps money into bridging digital gap

2024-04-09  Aletta Shikololo

MICT pumps money into bridging digital gap

The information ministry has announced plans to implement the universal access service initiative by deploying 30 radio access network sites/towers across the country.

 This effort aims to bridge the digital divide in unserved and underserved areas.

 Speaking to New Era, the ministry’s spokesperson, Shoki Kandjimi, stated that about 10 towers will be erected per year for three years. 

“We aim to build towers in areas which mobile operators like MTC and Telecom do not deem commercially viable. Our goal is to ensure that these neglected areas have access to network coverage,” he said. 

An amount of N$110 million has been earmarked for this initiative, to be rolled out this year. 

This allocation is part of the N$702 million budget allocated to the ministry for the 2024/2025 financial year. 

“This funding will enable us to promote access to information, develop responsive ICT laws, policies, and strategies, promote ICT infrastructure development, and maintain operational efficiencies,” stated information minister Emma Theofelus during the budget motivation yesterday. 

Additionally, plans are underway to establish a cybersecurity incident response team, which will serve as a focal point for coordinating responses to cyber incidents and will be the primary contact point to liaise with national, regional, and international bodies dealing with cybersecurity. 

Meanwhile, the much-anticipated Access to Information Act is also set to be implemented in the current financial year.

According to Theofelus, this piece of legislation seeks to address the important issues of government transparency and guarantee citizens freedom to information and the right to access public information. 

It also aims to improve accountability and citizens’ relationship with government.

 Theofelus added that the commission’s regulations are due for tabling in Parliament and thereafter the office of the information commissioner will be established.

This she said will be to address the issues of transparency in the public sector but also in the private sector.

 An amount of N$19 million will be allocated for the operationalisation of the commission.

New Era received N$27.5 million, Nampa N$27.7 million while NBC will receive over N$300 million for their operational budget and N$80 million towards its development budget.

N$6 million have been allocated to the Namibia Film Commission Secretariat (NFC) for the Namibia Film Development Fund. 

This fund is for the promotion of Namibia as a preferred film destination internationally while developing the local film industry.

Theofelus also said the ministry will continue fully maximising the government information centre as a one stop-shop for the proactive dissemination of information on government activities, programmes and projects.

 “We plan to increase the frequency of participation by central and regional governments, including public enterprises,” she said, adding that the same platform will be used to communicate key decisions made by Cabinet.

2024-04-09  Aletta Shikololo

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