Parliament — With tourism being among the major contributors to Uganda's economy, the Ministry of Information, Communication Technology and National Guidance has expressed a need for Shs68b for connecting tourism sites to internet and other telecommunication networks.
This was one of the recommendations carried in the report of the Parliament Committee on ICT and National Guidance that was presented to house this afternoon (Thursday).
Presenting the report during a session chaired by Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, the Tororo North MP, Ms Annet Nyakecho said the tourists who visit different sites and national safari parks want to keep in touch with their people back home.
"The tourists would like to be connected with their families and friends while in Uganda. While at the different tourism sites, these visitors want to capture live videos and share them. That is why the committee saw it important that this Parliament appropriates Shs68b for connectivity," she said.
She said the private companies that run some of the tourism sites across the country cannot afford to invest in connectivity.
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ICT Minister, Frank Tumwebaze told Daily Monitor after the committee report was approved that this money is needed but was not allocated to his ministry by the Ministry of Finance.
"It is just a request but we don't know whether Parliament will give us the money. We are happy the report has been adopted including that need for the funds to ensure connectivity at the tourism sites," he said.
Mr Tumwebaze said the plan is for government to take internet fiber to the tourism sector in the next phase of National Back Born extension.
He said, after the fiber is extended to the tourism sector, government will then ask the telecom companies to operate the infrastructure as demanded by the new broadband distribution.
He added that the next phase after internet has been installed in the national safari parks and other tourism sites, the government would also embark on the phase of ensuring voice data is also extended to allow tourists to make phone calls.
The committee also recommended to Parliament to allocate Shs7b to enhance the ICT innovation programme in the ministry.
In the same report that was adopted without debate, the committee recommended appropriation of Shs40.2b for the Ministry budget in the next financial year. Allocation to entities under the ministry are; Shs83.04b to National Information Technology Authority (NITA-U); Shs133.8b to Uganda Communications Commission (UCC); Shs20.3b to Posta Uganda; and, Shs10.3b to Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC).