TZ digital drive in top gear

TANZANIA is on the right truck to attain its target of expanding access to communication services throughout the country come 2025 following  execution of  projects  that intend  to  enable 8.5million Tanzanians to have access to the services.

Chama Cha Mapinduzi Election Manifesto 2020- 2025 directs the government to increase communication scope from 45 per cent in 2020 to 80 per cent in 2025.

The party document also has set a target of increasing internet users  from 43 per cent  in 2020  to 80 per cent come 2025, as well as improving communication services in general.

Minister for Information, Communication and Information Technology, Mr Nape Nnauye said in Dodoma yesterday during a signing ceremony of contracts for expanding communication services in rural areas which was witnessed by President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

He said the contracts involve construction of 758 communication towers in 26 regions in Mainland   in which villages in 1,713 wards will benefit from the services.

“Upon completion of the projects which will be executed for 18 months, a total of 18million Tanzanians will have access to communication services which are also expected to stimulate economic activities and development in the respective areas,” he said.

The minister said that on the other hand the contracts intend to upgrade the capacity of 304 communication towers in various areas in the country especially in rural areas in all regions in Mainland Tanzania.

“The signing of these  contracts  including the upgrading of communication towers’  capacity is a crucial step in ensuring that communication services are being accessed throughout the country come 2025 as directed  in the CCM election manifesto,” Nape said.

He said the government, through the Universal Communications Service Access Fund (UCSAF), has managed to provide communication services to about 15 million Tanzanians living in rural areas which were implemented in collaboration with telecommunication companies.

“To date, the government, through UCSAF, has entered into agreement with communication service providers to avail communication services in rural areas in 1,258 wards with a total of 3,704 villages with 15,194,118 people in which 1,380 communication towers will be built,” Nape said.

Nape detailed that of the 19 contracts that UCSAF has entered into contract with service providers for installation, the government has dished out 199.9bn/- .

“The disbursement of the funds is a testimony of how the sixth phase government is committed to ensuring that every Tanzanian, especially those in rural areas get access to communication services,” he said.

He added: “As the country heads towards digital economy the government intends to live no one behind that is why it has dished out the funds to ensure that the services are expanded to rural areas.”

For her part, Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Tulia Ackson commended President Samia Suluhu Hassan for reinstating the Planning Commission which will serve as a think-tank in charting out development strategies.

She further said that there have been complaints that communication services are expensive especially communication bundles, urging the government to look into possibilities of minimising them so that investment done could be efficient.

Dr Tulia also asked the government to see how it could reduce the charges of installing the national optic fibre on earmarked areas on road reserves, which is 1,000 US dollars, as the charges have been ending up increasing cost to the mobile phone customers.

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