INFORMATION MINISTRY 2022/23 BUDGET: TZ ready for digital economy

INFORMATION MINISTRY 2022/23 BUDGET: TZ ready for digital economy

TRANFORMING Tanzania into a more digital economy has centered 2022/23 budget of the Information, Communication and Information Technology Ministry, looking forward to investing heavily in the Digital Tanzania Project.

Presenting the budget estimates for 2022/2023 financial year, Minister for the portfolio, Nape Nnauye said the ministry is currently preparing a framework that will direct the nation into the envisaged destination.

According to the minister, the government has secured 150 million US dollars for the project that will enable the country's economy to go digital.

"We are currently working on the framework that will give us a picture on how the digital economy will look like," the minister said amid applause from legislators.

However, the minister said the framework will involve reviewing the country's policies, laws, rules and regulations.

He stressed that his ministry is charged with the responsibility of supervising the country's digital transformation, saying the process will lead the nation into embracing digital economy, a process which is managed by Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

According to the minister, under the concept (digital economy), all sectors of the country's economy operate jointly.

The Digital Tanzania Project (DTP), also known as the broadband initiative, will increase access to high-quality broadband internet services for government, businesses and citizens, and improve the government's capacity to deliver digital public services.

The project will involve strengthening the laws, policies, regulations, institutional capacity and human capacity needed to promote ICT infrastructure investment, market competitiveness, digital engagement, job creation and innovation.

Another aspect of the project focuses on ensuring access to affordable, high-quality internet services for all citizens, including those living in rural areas.

Building the technical capacity, skills, institutions, and local digital infrastructure for the government to deliver services to citizens and conduct its own business digitally will also be given priority in the project.

According to the minister, the project will create environment for creation of employment opportunities emanating from Information and Communication Technology (ICT), promotion Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) to spur growth, promotion of professionalism among government experts and improvement of service provision in the government.

Nape said in the next financial year, his ministry will spend 39.3bn/- for the construction of a main ICT Incubation Centre and other five zonal centres.

Other activities to be carried out include facilitating procurement, supply and installation of the equipment in the established ICT incubation centres.  The funds will be externally sourced.

According to the minister, the ministrywill in the next financial year promote creativity in ICT, facilitate purchase of bandwidth for government use, install equipment for improving performance of the National Internet Data Centre (NIDC), expand the current broadband infrastructures owned by the government (Government Network), including connecting 100 institutions into the network to reach 390 and build a national system that will simplify the gathering of ICT-related statistics. 

Other tasks to be carried out in the next financial year include building three laboratories for the refurbishment of ICT equipment in Arusha, Dar es Salaam and Mwanza regions, building 150 telecommunication towers in 150 wards to avail communication in remote areas and reviewing various laws, policies and regulations related to ICT.

Also in the list of tasks to be carried include building capacity to ICT experts by offering short term training to 200 personnel. Long term ICT training will be offered to 10 government experts.

According to the minister, registered SIM cards have increased from 52,965,816 in April 2021 to  55,365,239 in April 2022, an increase of 4.5 per cent while internet users have increased from 29.2 million in April 2021 to 29.9 million in April 2022, an increase of 2.7 per cent.

He said mobile money service users have increased from 27,326,938 in April 2021 to 35,749,298 in April 2022, an increase of 30.8 per cent.

The ministry will spend a total of 282.056bn/- in the next financial year, out of which 26.279bn/- is for Recurrent Expenditure and 255.777bn/- for Development Expenditure. The Parliament passed the budget.

Author: RODGERS LUHWAGO in Dodoma

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