We attended a Computer Suppliers Association of Zimbabwe (COMSA) organized breakfast meeting in the morning today where the Zimbabwe ICT Minister, Nelson Chamisa, spoke to the COMSA members on some projects that his ministry is working on.
The COMSA president, Atwell Mukusha, tells us COMSA organized the meeting as they felt they needed to meet the minister to openly interact with him, get clarification on some matters of concern, know what the ministry is working on and see how they can take part in any developments going on.
We post below some main points from a speech by the ICT Minister. Here’s the full audio of the minister’s speech:
Here’s the summary of points made in the speech:
- As government we make policies, we’re supposed to reflect what the players and experts in the industry are saying.
- On software duty. There was a problem of ZIMRA [the Zim taxman] not appreciating the classification of software but that has since been resolved.
- A lot of achievements have been registered, particularly the removal of duty on ICTs, both hardware and software. – We have tried to protect our local industry players as well.
- ICTs are not only a social enabler, but an enabler of socio-economic development, enabling administration and service delivery by the government. They are also enablers in terms of our knowledge driven industry, education and others sectors. They are an important component of wealth creation.
- We’re happy about the jump of the mobile and internet penetration rate. People in Murehwa and Tsholotsho now have access to the internet.
- Our national fibre backbone has connected Harare to Mozambique through Mutare. We’re now working on the Beitbridge leg and have laid fibre up to Gweru so far.
- We’re aware of the issues of duplication among government operators like TelOne and PowerTel who compete with each other in some cases. We do not want the government to compete against itself. Competition is for the private players.
- We’re happy about the increase in Zimbabwe’s ICT development index from 1.49 in 2008 to 1.81 in 2011
- As government we want to increase the ICT literacy levels and as part of this we will be launching PC per Classroom project to be launched in a few weeks. We will emphasize one ICT lab per school.
- We are currently training senior governement officials (Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Principal Directors etc…) and in ICT literacy. We need those in governemnt to appreciate these things.
- We are working with the ministry of education to review education curricula
- We have already started a program of putting information centers in the rural centers
- The government has also launched an E-Government framework called Zimconnect.
- We are updating the ICT policy framework. The framework was done in 2005, launched in 2007. A lot of changes have taken place so we need to update it. We’re currently consulting stakeholders on this.
- The ICT bill was finalised but we had challenges in the government. We are now howevevr speaking the same language and once the ICT policy frramework has been updated we will then work on the ICT Bill. We will incorporate the SADC model bill and the COMESA model bill which are going to be the benchmark for our bill.