Unlocking digital economy

DODOMA: THE Ministry of Information, Communication and Information Technology on Thursday highlighted nine strategic projects that aim at building a well-informed society to drive major transformation of both social and economic sectors, including enhancing digital economy.

The projects are set to be implemented while executing a 180.9bn/- budget estimate for the ministry that was endorsed by the Parliament on Thursday.

Minister for the docket, Nape Nnauye told Members of Parliament that the nine prioritised projects are designed to cement on the major successes obtained in the ending financial year, in which a number of projects have been implemented after the august House endorsed a 212.4bn/- budget for the docket in the 2023/2024 fiscal year.

Mr Nape said in the coming financial year’s budget, the ministry aims at providing information services at affordable cost, improvement of technology in the communication and information sector, set creativity in both postal and telecommunication sector purposely to boost the digital economy.

Explaining the achievements obtained in the implementation of the 2023/24 fiscal year, the minister said 181.95bn/- was endorsed for the implementation of projects during the year.

However, he said, until April, 2024 the government had released 190.6bn/-, which is 104.8 per cent. He said until April, 2024, the ministry managed to assess information, register and record postcodes.

He said a total of 505,436 new postcodes were registered making a total of 12,385,956 which is an increase of 4.1 percent.

On the question of the national broadband, the minister said the ministry requested 80bn/- for the project, and until April, this year, 77.8bn/-, which is 96.4 per cent had been released. The Ministry managed to build 3,008km and 66 stations of national broadband and expanded the transmission capacity from 800Gbps to 2000Gbps.

On the implementation of the digital Tanzania project, the minister said until April, this year, the ministry had spent 711m/- on facilitating 30 meetings for heads of institutions, journalists and 14 Regional Commissions and district council directors.

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He said the ministry also managed to collect information from 397 projects in 16 regions of Tanzania mainland and many other digital projects.

On the implementation of the ICT park project, the minister said the government has embarked on a feasibility study for the construction of smart city and other projects. On the performance of the institutions under his docket, the minister said as of April, 2024, a total of 521.79bn/- was collected from the entities, which is 84.17 per cent of the target, which was 619.96bn/-.

The minister said the institutions recorded good performance during the ending financial year. He said Tanzania Standard Newspapers Limited (TSN) managed to collect 18.3bn/ as of April, 2024, which is 59.3 per cent of the 30.8bn/- target.

“The company is also constructing a modern printing press, so far the implementation has reached 35 per cent,” he said.

According to Mr Nape, the company has received a total of four big new modern printing machines and other seven small machines, all worth 15.7bn/-. He said until April 2024, Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) had registered 72.5 million sim cards.

The minister added that as of 2024, Universal Communications Service Access Fund (UCSAF) continued with the construction of 758 communication towers in 731 wards in various parts of the country. He said as of April, this year, a total of 142 communication towers had been constructed.

He said 124 towers are already in operation and 126 are in final stages while 616 towers are in various construction stages. Highlighting the TTCL achievement, the minister said the corporation has managed to build national broadband in 22 districts, including connecting 12,584 users to the system.

He mentioned them as Karatu, Mbulu, Longido, Hai, Mwanga, Pangani, Muheza, Lushoto, Kibiti, Mtama, Nachingwea, Newala, Mbinga, Ludewa, Ileje, Vwawa, Mbogwe, Msalala, Tarime, Sengerema, Rorya and Ngara. The corporation also managed to sign a 28.8m US dollar- agreement on national broadband business with Uganda, Malawi (5.5m US dollar) and Airtel company (4.8m US dollar).

The company also registered new 102,850 T-PESA customers and connected six public and private institutions to a bulk disbursement system. On TBC, the minister said the corporation managed to complete transmission projects in Serengeti– Mara, Bariadi – Simiyu, Ileje – Songwe, Njombe, Kilwa – Lindi, Unguja and Pemba. TBC also launched TBC Taifa, BongoFM and TBC International as well as the construction of the corporation headquarters in Dodoma.

“The construction has so far reached 18 per cent,” he said.

Commenting on the performance of the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC), the minister said the commission has so far managed to register personal data analysts and that over 300 institutions are on different stages of registration.

In the 2024/2025 fiscal year, Mr Nnauye said the ministry is planning to complete and supervise the implementation of national communication strategy, completion of the improvement of the information and broadcasting policy of 2003, to supervise the establishment of the media accreditation board, free media council and media fund.

The minister added that the ministry will also strengthen ICT infrastructure, secure digital and social media systems and many others.

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