Communication Sector to Top Uganda’s Investment Destinations-ED Mutabazi

The Executive Director of the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) Mr Godfrey Mutabazi has indicated that the communications sector has become the lead country’s favorite investment destination.
Mutabazi made the remarks in his end of year message where he also noted that the communications sector has experienced significant milestones that have enabled growth and provided variety in communication services.
“The communications sector is a favorable investment destination today as our young population continues the uptake and makes use of ICT,” he says.
He notes that the commission has continued to provide stewardship of communications markets, structures and conduct, through initiatives designed to promote sector competition, attract new investment as well as promote consumer interests.
Key achievements in 2018
He says UCC reclassified license categories and regulatory obligations in line with the growing trends and emergence of converged licensing frameworks for telecommunications and broadcasting. He explains that this encourages new entrants, equitable regulatory treatment of players and increases competition.
He says that UCC completed the review of domestic mobile interconnection rates from Shs 112 to Shs 65 and that this is expected to reduce barriers to entry, promote retail price competition and increase service variety.
UCC has developed more partnerships in the development of the communications sector including partnerships with Intelsat and ITSO on broadband connectivity in rural areas and the Republic of Korea on Spectrum Monitoring.
Other partnerships according to Mr Mutabazi are with ITU on cybersecurity and online protection; academia on research and skills development among others.
He says Uganda’s communication sector has achieved increased recognition in the international ICT fora, including but not limited to the ITU, ATU, ITSO, and EACO.
He adds there is an enhanced capacity of operators to address cybersecurity incidents and working with sector players and that this will continue to empower consumers to detect and protect themselves from cybercriminals.
Mutabazi notes that there have been challenges especially the misuse of communications services by criminals resulting in fraud, kidnap and murder. But he says that as start the New Year, we should relish the challenges that lie ahead and note the need to be more vigilant about both our personal and collective security.
He says the commission’s focus for the next year will be to: increase access and usage of communications services especially among the vulnerable communities including Persons with Disabilities (PWD’s.)
“UCC will now increase support to broadband services arising from the implementation of the broadband policy and further, strengthen the regulatory framework to promote sector growth and protect consumers due to the implementation of new regulations,” he added.

UCC Equips Hundreds With Film Skills

Several hundreds of youth have participated in a two day film training workshop in various film skills.
The training workshop which is going at National Theater in Kampala was in partnership with Uganda Communications Commission and Film Club of Uganda and first of its kind in Uganda.
According to the organizers, the second day of training was a total success.
Participants are undergoing under skills development in make-up, special effects and props, directing, scrip writing, acting and sound.
Registration and training are absolutely free of charge.

Uganda’s Eng. Bugaba Vies for Slot at ITU Radio Regulations Board

Uganda’s Eng. Simon Bugaba is seeking to represent Uganda at the International Telecommunications Union Radio Regulations Board, Region Africa for 2018-2022 cycles.
The International Telecommunications Union’s top policy-making body will be electing its top executives to shape the future work of the Union at an event which is ongoing in Dubai.
Ugandan delegation is being led by minister of information technology, and national guidance Frank Tumwebaze deputized by Uganda communication commission director Eng. Godfrey Mutabazi.
Uganda is vying for re-election to the ITU Council as well as election to the Radio Regulations Board.
According to UCC, Eng. Bugaba is a dynamic, innovative ICT expert with strengths in spectrum management and ICT regulation.
He is also described as a person who is committed to promoting dialogue, consensus, and fairness thus making him the best candidate for the slot.
“He has innovative solutions in the execution of Radio Regulations Board role while considering the needs of both developed and developing countries”.

Mutabazi roots Ugandans to Embrace Technology Advancement

The Executive Director of the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) – the regulator of the communications sector in Uganda Mr. Godfrey Mutabazi has called on government agencies and other partners to embrace ICT as the country strives to achieve the national broadband policy.
Mr Mutabazi made the remarks on Tuesday as he addressed hundreds of people during the ninth Annual CEO FORUM held at Serena hotel in Kampala.
“As a country, we need to tackle the low levels of awareness and digital literacy, which has made us late adopters of technology in most cases,” he said adding that Uganda needs to seriously boost and support innovation and the digitization of local content.
He said this should boost the level of development especially in e-services including e-government.
He said Ugandans should take advantage of emerging technologies leverage on the power of connectivity in order to harness the benefits of emerging technologies, deliberate efforts need to be made towards addressing identified challenges.
Uganda currently stands at 3G mobile technologies with parts of the countryside still under 2G coverage service. Such coverage, however, is only ideal for voice services but not data.
Mr Mutabazi now believes it is time for the country to begin exploring opportunities for deployment of the more advanced 5G.
But, to achieve this, both the government and the private sector need to invest in network expansion as well as innovative infrastructure deployment mechanisms and models.
“As we extend to connectivity, there is also urgent need to further stimulate demand through interventions to ensure that communications services and devices are affordable,” he said.
Bad, traditional policies
At policies, Mr. Mutabazi called for the need to create favorable and progressive tax regime that encourages investment and consumption of communications devices with an imp emphasis, increased digital literacy among the consumers and promote the development and packaging of local content.
He explained that “current policy development and business processes seem very traditional and linear. Yet the technology space is highly competitive and dynamic,” he said that technology companies require quick and flexible business procedures and requirements to be able to thrive.
In Uganda today, technology developments are outpacing the policy and regulatory development process which calls for government innervations and the need to needs to review its processes to enable the country benefit from the technological advancements and position Uganda as a leader in technology adoption.
With that on the play, Mr. Mutabazi wants the government to harness the power of collaboration with other sectors and agencies so as to leverage on the synergies that exist and initiatives geared towards collaborations in deployment and protection of infrastructure to further reduce associated costs.
Hon. David Bahati State Minister of Finance for Planning who represented Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, Prime Minister delivered the keynote address at the summit said he was delighted to open this year’s CEO summit.
“We are at a time when we are reviewing the NDP II and strategically planning for NDP III to inform our economic direction and the ministry of finance doors is open to allow your contribution
The forum brings together the region’s best business and industry minds to engage with thought leaders, public sector practitioners, development actors and each other with a view to engendering insights into influencing & implementing solutions.
The Forum was first held in 2009, as a response to the financial meltdown of 2008, as a platform for the captains of industry to debate and re-think the economy, to drive mutually-beneficial partnerships to address each other’s woes, & to become catalysts for action & for change.

UCC launches tree-planting campaign as it marks 20 years

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has embarked on the campaign to plant over 7,000 trees in Ntungamo District as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility activities as it marks 20 years of existence.
Presiding over the inauguration of the campaign at Muntuyera High School, Kitunga where the project will be located on Tuesday, the UCC deputy executive director, Alice Nyangoma, said the move is intended to protect the environment as well as aid the school to get firewood in future and preserve the green environment.
“We have had a challenge of environmental degradation and restoration of the environment is a measure. Planting these trees shall enable the depleted environment to rejuvenate but also aid the school in future for firewood and more income? This will be the basic symbol for our 20 years celebrations. We shall manage the trees until they can be given fully to the school,” Ms Nyangoma said.
The 7,000 trees shall be planted on a 7.2-acre piece of land donated by the school in Rwashamaire Town Council. The school head teacher, Twine Joseph Muganga, said the project shall be a relief to the school.
Several UCC officials were in the area planting over 1000 trees on the first day with students, teachers and members of the community involved in the process.
Nyangoma said the commission shall take care of the trees for 6 years before handing them over to the school which will at the time start harvesting.
According to the National Forestry Authority, the country loses about 100,000 hectares of forest cover every year, a situation that is worsening the effect of climate change.
In April, State Minister for Environment Mary Goretti Kitutu has said Uganda’s forest cover has been depleted to 8% up from 24% in 1990s, attributing it to human encroachment for different activities like agriculture and tree cutting for timber and charcoal.
Since the departure of the colonial government in 1962, Uganda, once described by the British imperialist Winston Churchill, in 1908, as the “Pearl of Africa” partly because of its rich flora and fauna, has seen massive depletion of forests.
Some forecasts gloomily predict that private land will not have forests in the next 10 years. This is backed by evidence from a 2016 Joint Water and Environment Sector Review Report that says forest cover has reduced from 24 percent in 1990 to just 11 percent in 2015.
Between 1990 and 2005, natural forest estate outside protected areas reduced by 35 percent (from 3.46 million hectares in 1990 to 2.3 million hectares in 2005). People are converting hitherto forested land into agricultural land, timber, and charcoal burning zones.

We don’t Unregistered Sim Cards-UCC

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has denied allegations that there are a number of active unregistered SIM cards in operation.
This follows after a one Moses Kawooya took to social media on Monday morning lashing out to the commission over failure to track criminals as they continue to send death threats to several Ugandans using unregistered Sim cards.
At least Members of Parliament, senior police officers including former police spokesperson Asan Kasingye and former Kampala South Police commander Siraje Bakaleke among others reported receiving threats from known people.
Ibrahim Bbosa, UCC’s consumer affairs manager refuted the claims on social media saying UCC issued a directive to all telecom companies to switch off all unregistered SIM cards and an audit of all telecom companies conducted to ensure there were no active unregistered Sim cards.
“A Commission directive is enforceable under the Law in Section 41 of the Uganda Communications Act which can lead to amount other sanctions, the suspension, and revocation of license.
“This is common knowledge among operators and keeps the industry in check,” Bbosa wrote.
The UCC recently issued stringent measures requiring customers acquiring, SIM upgrades, Replacement or new SIM Card to physically appear and present an original National Identification Card verified electronically using Biometrics to safeguard new registrations.
But Bbosa said that SIM cards that were registered during the phrase were individuals simply submitted National Identification Numbers (NINs) still exist on the network and are considered registered considering the guidelines prevailing at the time.
There was also reports that unscrupulous individuals exploited the opportunity to SIM cards using others peoples NINs.
However, Bbossa clarified that when a SIM card is disconnected from the network for whatever reason including Upgrades, Replacement, sim swaps among others re-connection demands a fresh registration.
“Telecom operators are encouraging customers to update their Know Your Customer (KYC) details at every opportunity,” he added.

UCC Boss Eng. Mutabazi rallies Ugandans, government agencies to embrace ICTs

The Executive Director of the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) – the regulator of the communications sector in Uganda Mr. Godfrey Mutabazi has called on government agencies and other partners to embrace ICT as the country strives to achieve the national broadband policy.
“As a country, we cannot afford to be left behind. We need to position ourselves to reap these benefits of ICTs.
“Infrastructure has been recognized as a key backbone in this quest,” he said adding that “we [Uganda] need to have in place the right ICT infrastructure.
The government, through the ministry of ICT and national guidance–together with other partners including the ITU, are working together to develop robust technologies and networks that will help the country achieve the broadband.
According to Mr. Mutabazi, homes, businesses, vehicle and mobile devices are capable of tapping into data throughput speeds of up to 1000Mbps, or 125MBps, with incredibly low latency.
Although the country’s broadband today is largely 3G mobile technologies with parts of the countryside still under 2G coverage service. Such coverage, however, is only ideal for voice services but not data.
Mutabazi attributes the situation to the low appreciation of the benefits and opportunities available with ICTs, low levels of digital literacy, affordability of Internet-enabled terminals and locally insufficient relevant digital content and applications.
He, however, said that broadband policy will assist communities that seek to ensure that citizens have the broadband capacity they need to advance economic development, education, health care, and public safety, among others.
The new study by ITU quantifies the positive impact of broadband, digital transformation and the interplay of ICT regulation on national economies.
It also looks at the transformative power of ICTs is triggering positive change in the global economy.
In the broadband policy according to ICT minister Frank Tumwebaze National Broadband strategy target is 100 percent connectivity for Urban and 50 percent connectivity for rural by 2020. About 19 percent of Uganda’s population don’t have access to basic telephone either due to lack of connectivity or high cost (Handsets and Subscription).
According to UCC, connectivity for digital services is significantly correlated with the level of advancement of ICT policies and regulations, as well as the competition and market power regulatory set-up.
UCC, as regulators of the country’s communications sector, they are keen to ensure access to quality, high-speed broadband services for all Ugandans.
This is aimed at facilitating global competitiveness increased innovation and productivity in both the public and private sector as well as sustainable national development.
“We recognise the value of embracing all technologies in this quest and incorporate these in our regulatory planning – optical fiber, satellite technology, mobile cellular technologies, and other wireless technologies.”