212.4bn/- to transform information sector


Key priorities for 2023/24

  •   Building digital, cashless economy
  •   Construct 600 Communications towers
  •   Review 2003 Information and Broadcasting Policy
  •   Partner with private sector to carry out research and innovation in ICT
  •   Providing support for startups businesses
  • TSN eyes increased production,

Achievements 2022/23

  • 212.4bn/- : Total budget approved
  • 321: Registered newspapers by April this year
  • 215: Total number of radio stations by April 2023
  • 33.1million: Total number of internet users
  • 65: Total number of television stations

THE Ministry of Information, Communication and Information Technology has planned to embark on major transformations in all its institutions for the sake of improving productivity in all services being offered under the docket.

The transformations are set to be implemented while executing a 212.4bn/- budget estimates for the ministry that was endorsed by the Parliament yesterday.

The lawmakers commended the government for its efforts in transforming the communication sector.

Tabling the budget estimates, Minister of the docket Nape Nnauye said the government is dedicated to fast-track the country’s zeal to building a digital economy, including placing more emphasis on a cashless system that is operated by Information Communication Technology (ICT).

He said to ensure effective implementation of the plans, the ministry will make major changes in the sector for the sake of fast-tracking construction of infrastructure in the ICT and information sector.

“In implementing the strategy, the government will work closely with the private sector in carrying out research and innovation in ICT, including providing support for startups businesses as well as supporting other sectors in digital revolutions,” said the minister.

The minister noted further of the government’s commitment to enhance press freedom as well as ensuring the digital economy plays a deserving role in the preparation of policies and guidelines that prevent social ethics.

According to him, in fast tracking the country’s determination to build digital economy, the ministry will enhance efforts in a number of issues including coordinating the upgrading of various Acts.

“We shall also enact an ICT Act and specific legislations that supervise postcode address, Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation as well as preparing policy and guidelines that address online child abuse,” he added.

He went on to explain that the ministry will   supervise the establishment of ICT College at Nala area, Dodoma Region and another one in Kigoma.

“The ministry has also planned to make changes that will enable the sector to match with technological transformation as well as properly supervising infrastructures for ICT, communication, post and information sector,” noted further the minister.

According to him, the infrastructure in question include the national broadband, postcode address and broadcasting equipment that together play a role in stimulating the new system that focuses on enhancing digital economy.

Mr Nape also highlighted some key activities that will be implemented by the department of Information Services in complementing the key agendas to be executed by the ministry.

According to him, the Information Services Department will conduct a review of Information and Broadcasting Policy of 2003 for it to match with the current transformations as well as implementing the Media Services Act of 2016 with its regulations of 2017.

“The department will also coordinate the formation of TBC Act, establishment of the Africa Swahili radio channel as well as collection and dissemination of government information on implementation of policies, strategies, programmes and projects,” he said.

In another development, the minister said the government will start taking strong actions against peddlers of cyber crimes, noting that the ministry has blocked a total of 997 SIM cards that were used in committing online crimes.

Meanwhile, the minister listed some achievements recorded in the information and communication sector, resulting in improvement of services during implementation of the budget for the current year 2022/23.

He said effective implementation of strategies highlighted in the current budget resulted in an increase in the number of registered radio stations, television, newspapers and online media platforms.

Mr Nape told the Parliament that by April this year, the number of registered radio stations increased to 215 from 210 in the corresponding period for the year 2022, while television stations increased to 65 from 56 recorded in 2022.

“The government continued to put in place proper mechanisms for effective use of broadcasting technology especially in producing online content that has played a vital role in creating employment for the youth,” he said.

According to him the improvements have also seen an increase in the number of registered SIM cards to 62.3million in April this year from 55.7 million in the corresponding period last year.

More so, a number of internet users jumped from 29.9 million in April 2022 to 33.1 per cent by April 2023, an increase that is equivalent of 10.7 per cent.

Expounding further, Mr Nape said the number of newspapers increased to 321 in April this year, up from 284 of the corresponding period in the year 2022, an increase of 13 per cent.

However, there has been a decrease in the number of Cable Televisions from 59 to 57 by April this year, the registration of online television also reduced to 413 from 663 due to amendment in regulations of online content regulations in 2022.

In another development, Mr Nape informed the House that the government managed to supervise and coordinate the formation of the Personal Data Protection Act that was meant to attract more investors, especially in the information and communications technology sector.

Also, the government has finalised the process of preparing regulations for facilitation of implementation of the Act that came to effect on May 1st this year.

On Information and Communication Technology (ICT) development, the ministry has supervised two main projects such as procurement of   equipment for construction of national broadband network for 112 service centres.

Also, the government is continuing with construction of 4,442 kilometers of new national broadband network that will have a total of 10,624 concrete poles.

“We are also finalising the process for acquiring a consultant for a feasibility study for construction of the Data Centre in Zanzibar as well as completing the delayed design for all areas with communication challenges that resulted in signing of contracts for installment of 758 new communication towers,” said the minister.

According to him, the construction of the new communication towers will improve communication in 26 mainland regions, 127 districts, 713 wards and 1,407 villages that together will cover a population of 8.5 million.

The second project was the accomplishment of the Digital Economy Framework 2023-2033 aiming at increasing the use of digital services being offered by the government and private sector as well as Extension of Government Internet Bandwidth to a speed of 5Gbps.

He went on to explain that the government has also managed to prepare the Government Service Directory incorporating information from 57 public institutions, as well as conducting the detailed design for six projects.

Debating the budget, Members of Parliament asked the government to consider supervising improvement of the welfare of journalists since they are playing a crucial role in supporting development, including educating and informing the public.

The concern was raised by a Special Seats MP Ester Bulaya (Chadema) and Eric Shigongo of Buchosa on CCM ticket, saying journalists need to be recognised based on the nature of their responsibilities.

For his part, Nachingwea MP Amandus Chinguile  (CCM) and his  Kilwa South counterpart   Francis Ndulane commended the ministry  for  its efforts in  constructing communication towers in their constituencies.

They also asked the government to maintain the pace in erecting  towers in  other parts of the country that are yet to have strong communication services.


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