Eng.Godfery Mutabazi successfully completed his ten-year tenure as the Executive Director of Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and is regarded among the longest serving UCC boss. Early this week, Eng.Mutabazi was replaced by Eng Irene Kaggwa Sewakambo the Director In charge of Engineering and Communication Infrastructure as the Ag UCC Executive pending the renewal of Mutabazi’s contract.
However, the statistics conducted show that Eng.Mutabazi has transformed the Communication sector compared to any other Executive Director. Despite facing some challenges of unfair media regulatory, Eng Mutabazi has made tremendous growth to the Communication sector and he will always remain as a hero in UCC.
During his reign as UCC boss,Eng Mutabazi he made the telecom sector remain top foreign direct investment destination with more than 35 multinationals at both the infrastructure and service layers, thus making it the number one tax year for over a decade now with a total tax contribution of Shs1.7trillion in the FY 2018/19 up from Shs837billion in FY2014/15.
With Uganda’s economy growing at 6% per annum, telecom sector that is regulated by UCC is growing at 17.4% per year resulting to an upsurge in gross revenue turnover from Shs1.4trillion in 2010 to Shs3.6trillion in 2019. This 157% increase is a reflection of the contribution the sector makes to the lives of the individuals and organizations in Uganda. In terms of contribution to GDP, the sector registered a 52% performance increase from 6% in FY2014/15 to 10.6% in FY2018/19.
During his term of office, Eng.Mutabazi managed to make Uganda the only country in Africa with 4Generation (4G) coverage border to border with MTN recently launching 5G connectivity. Despite success in 4G coverage, the coverage is still hindered by low accessibility of 4G handsets due to affordability of these devices in the market.
Currently, central region has the biggest 4G coverage in the country with a user population of 53% and a geographical coverage of only 9%. Central region is trailed by Eastern region with population coverage of 15% against 4% geographical coverage. 4G connectivity remains lagging in Northern and Western Uganda with 1% geographical coverage and 2% respectively against population of 9% and 8%.
With a current record of 24.9m mobile users and 17m mobile money active subscribers as compared to 5m active bank customers, there is no doubt that this industry has significantly contributed to financial inclusion in the country under the stewardship of Eng. Mutabazi. In terms of internet subscriptions, UCC has witnessed an increase of internet subscribers from 5.7m in 2014 to 15m in 2019 representing a 165% growth while the total telecom subscribers increased by 157% over the last 10years from 10m in 2009 to 25.7m in 2019.
During Mutabazi’s reign, UCC has continued to grow into a reputable and professional communications regulator attracting several recognitions and awards severally for performance in regulatory activities. In 2019, UCC won the ITU and UNHCR Award for initiatives towards promoting connectivity for refugees and also became the best ICT regulator in Africa in the same year as awarded by the Session of Africa
UCC’s outstanding performance also made Uganda the first country in Africa to successfully carry out Digital Migration in the broadcast sector. This has resulted into other Africa and international regulators such as South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Brazil benchmarking on Uganda’s regulatory practices and frameworks in areas of; spectrum policy, cyber security, universal service fund and licensing review policy.
Mutabazi’s reign at UCC has also seen Uganda continue to offer leadership in global ICT policy forums and has been elected to a number of technical and administrative leadership roles in several UN ICT Agencies, Peer Regulatory Forums and Regional ICT Projects.
These include; the International Telecommunications Un ion (ITU), Universal Posta Union (UPU), International Telecommunications and Satellite Organization (ITSO), African Telecommunications Union (ATU), Pan African Postal Union (PAPU) and East African Communications Organization (EACO).