Dodoma — THE government has obtained 45bn/- from World Bank to facilitate Universal Communication Access Fund (UCAF), the House was told on Friday.
UCAF was introduced to subsidize telecommunication companies in course of providing services in areas which were considered to have less business activities.
The Deputy Minister for Communication, Science and Technology Mr January Makamba said that there were some areas in the country with limited telecom services due to the fact that the companies were profit-oriented, thus before supplying the service they had to be satisfied with market stability.
However, he said that the government having seen how important it was to provide the services to all the people, did all it could to liaise with telecom companies through UCAF to ensure that all areas across the country were supplied with the services. Mr Makamba was responding to a question raised by John Chiligati (Manyoni East-CCM), who wanted to know the reason as to why many areas in the country including some areas in his constituency went without telecommunication services.
Mr Chiligati in his basic question claimed that in Makanda, Ngati, Majir, Hika, Sanza and Iseke villages, despite several efforts made, still did not have the services. The Deputy Minister said that the areas were to be supplied with telecom services after initial assessment, which was to be completed by August, this year. He said that after initial assessments the ministry would advertise tenders for that project in September, this year for further implementation.
Earlier, the Deputy Minister Mr Makamba said that in 2011 the project of supplying telecom services to such areas after it was found that the cost of accomplishing the project was higher than the amount set by UCAF, leading to its postponement. Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister told the National Assembly that over 2,000 villages in the country were not connected to telecommunication services.
The Deputy Minister said that through Universal Communication Access Fund (UCAF) it was revealed that 2,175 villages went without telecom services, drawing a big challenge to the ministry to tighten its effort to ensure that the villages get the services.
"Research conducted all over the country by UCAF found that 2175 villages lacked telecom services, we are thus determined through the Fund to ensure that they provide the services to all villages," Mr Makamba said.
Mr January insisted that the government was aware of the problem, saying that the inaccessibility of services in such areas was one of the major hindrances to economic activities as information sharing became limited amongst the communities. He said that the government was liaising with telecommunication companies to immediately supply service in those areas after they had conducted the marketing survey to establish the population, business activities and need of the service in the areas.