Posts tagged as: information

Taxpayers to Pay More for Entebbe Expressway

Photo: The Observer

A section of the completed four lane Kampala-Express highway road project.

By Ali Twaha

The China Communication Construction Company Limited (CCCC), the contractor of the Kampala-Entebbe expressway, will not complete the road in time because government has not finalized the acquisition of the land.

As a result of the delays, the project manager at CCCC, Li Jincheng, said the construction of the road will be finished six months behind schedule. According to the original plan, the completion date for the Kampala-Entebbe express highway was slated for end of November this year. However, although officials say the project is at least 80 per cent complete, the remaining 20 per cent might take them an additional six months to complete.

“The project completion date has been extended to May 5, 2018. Our contract says completion date is November 17, 2017. We want to complete it on time. [But] the only challenge is that we do not know when they [government] will clear the land, mostly from Mpala up to State House,” Li said.

Asked whether the delays being experienced will have any financial implications, Li said: “Because the contract has been extended, it will come with additional costs. But we have not yet made these calculations.” He was speaking during a tour of the four-lane toll highway project recently.

Construction of the Kampala-Entebbe expressway started in 2012 with funding from China’s Exim Bank to a tune of $350m (nearly Shs 1.2 trillion). The government also contributed its share.

The Uganda National Roads Authority has on several occasions been grilled by the parliamentary committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises about the contractor, the design and the total cost of the project, drawing comparison from similar road projects elsewhere.

WHY COSTS WILL RISE

Officials from CCCC say the original plan of the Kampala-Entebbe expressway has been modified to include a four-lane route on the Mpala-Kitala road. This is a diversion from the original plan of two lanes, according to CCCC.

According to Li, the extension means government will have to incur more expenses in terms of materials and other equipment for the Mpala-Kitala widening section. “We know on our side it is going to add on the cost of widening the section (along Mpala-Kitala). According to the original design, it was a two-lane,” Jincheng said.

Officials say most of the 20 per cent of the remaining work is along the Mpala-Kitala route up to State House area, the 12km Munyoyo road, which is underway, and the blasting of the rock at Nalumunye.

According to Abas Mugisha, the civil engineer of the project, the Kitala-State House section might take them longer because people occupying the land do not have the necessary documents to warrant them any compensation from government.

“We are supposed to do some widening and there is also an interchange. Between Kitara and State House, we still have compensation issues. We were promised that by June [2017] they will have paid all of them.”

Information from Unra indicates that so far 3,100 affected persons have been paid and at least 1, 435 are being verified for compensation. Meanwhile, given such delays over acquisition of land, government is planning to amend the Land Amendment Act, 2010, to allow a speedy process. The amendment will push for acquisition first and compensation later.

Recently, Matia Kasaija, the minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, tasked Unra to produce a report on how much government spends on compensation compared to the overall cost of the construction of a road. He said government might be spending more on compensation than the actual cost of the project.

Magufuli Busts ‘Startimes’ Loss-Naking Gab, Orders Dividend Pay

Photo: State House/Daily News

President Magufuli arrives at the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) to see how it works and talk to the staff in Dar es Salaam.

By Rose Athumani

President John Magufuli yesterday made a surprise visit at the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) headquarters in Mikocheni area and directed Star Media (T) Ltd (Startimes) to start paying dividends.

President Magufuli said a company cannot continue operating in a country for seven years if it truly ‘makes losses.’ “You have been here since 1999 … if you are making losses why are you still operating?” President Magufuli wondered, adding: “Tell your business partners that they have to pay dividend.”

“Make sure that you adhere to what’s in the contract. You cannot claim you’re making losses every year but still remain operating. So I want you to start discussion with TBC and the respective ministry on modalities of paying the dividend,” President Magufuli stressed.

President Magufuli directed the Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sport, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, who accompanied him to look into the contract between Star Media Tanzania Ltd and TBC and take necessary steps if the contract is not beneficial to Tanzania.

Startimes, a branding name of Star Media (Tanzania) Limited, is a Technology company that was established in 1988 in China.

On its website it describes itself as a pioneer and key player in digital television solution in China and Africa, where it has acquired over 7 million subscribers. “We are currently operating in 10 African countries, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Guinea, Central Africa Republic, Burundi, Mozambique and Senegal.

Our operation in Tanzania is a Joint Venture with the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) and our products offering digital multiplex service in Tanzania include Digital Television Sets, digital decoders and other value-adding services to serve the masses of Tanzania,” the website read in part.

Earlier at the TBC premises, President Magufuli urged innovative ideas and new ways of broadcasting to attract more viewers in the country as the leading broadcasting house.

“TBC1 and the national radio represents the government … you cannot be just like the other media houses whose objective is to maximize profits.

Your duty is to present the correct reports to the public without discriminating on political party affiliation, religion or tribe… that should be your focus,” he stressed.

Tanzania

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Nigeria: ‘Ports Concession Spurs U.S.$2 Billion Investment By Terminal Operators’

By Sulaimon Salau

A whooping $2 billion investment by the terminal operators has massively turned around operations at Nigerian seaports since the commencement of the concessioning programme about 11 years ago.

The Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup, who disclosed this recently, commended the Federal Government for its foresight in instituting the programme.

Before terminal operations were concessioned in 2006, Nigerian ports faced major challenges, which placed them among the most inefficient in the world. Before concession, the average waiting time for ships before berthing was 21 days, vessel turnaround time was seven days while dwell time for cargo was as high as 45 days.

Virtually all the major seaports across the country were heavily congested leading to insecurity and pilferage, delays in cargo clearance and inefficiencies in cargo handling largely due to manual processes.

According to Haatrup, the $2 billion invested by private terminal operators were deployed in modernising and upgrading their various terminals as well as in manpower development.

She said the success of the ports concession programme, which was implemented in 2006, has made it a model for consideration by other governments across the world to concession public infrastructure, and also for Nigeria to extend the model to other sectors of the economy.

Haastrup said: “What concessioning does is free government resources for the provision of other social services to the people. Government remains the ultimate owner of the concessioned facilities but the private sector is mandated to develop and operate those facilities under agreed terms over a certain period.

“This is a worthy model, which has not only improved operations at our ports, but has also attracted commendation from within and outside the country. “After Nigeria’s port concession, we now have countries like Ivory Coast, Liberia, Ghana, and even Greece adopting our model. The Liberians and Ghanaians sent delegations to understudy our port concession model to develop theirs.

“Also recently, the Greek Government concessioned the Thessaloniki Port, which is one of its most important public infrastructure. This is a clear indication of our success as a nation in building models worthy of emulation by others,” Haastrup said.

She also said the Federal Government’s consideration for adopting the concession model for the railway and aviation sectors derive from the success of the port programme.

“I have implicit confidence in the present government’s ability and commitment to the improvement of public infrastructure in the country and one is delighted to note that concessioning has become the model being adopted for both the railway and aviation sector reforms,” she said,

The STOAN chairman also commended the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for launching a Safety, Information, Operation and Communication Centre to enhance 24-hours operation at the port.

“The commissioning of this centre and the recent launch of four new tugboats by NPA will deepen reforms at the port. It will complement the efforts of terminal operators to make our ports competitive,” she said.

As a result of the challenges, the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2006, concessioned cargo handling operations at the ports to 25 terminals operators under various lease agreements raging from 15 to 25 years.

Zimbabwe: Telecoms Firms Warned to Improve Service

By Zvamaida Murwira

Gokwe — The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) is set to be tough on telecommunication operators whose services fall short of statutory standards, an official has said.

Potraz executive officer responsible for economic and financial analysis Mr Talent Munyaradzi said they were winding up countrywide road shows in which they were receiving feedback from users of telecommunication services and would soon ensure that they enforced the law.

Mr Munyaradzi said this in an interview in Gokwe Nembudziya on Saturday where his organisation was conducting a road show aimed at raising awareness on consumer grievances.

He said there was a Statutory Instrument governing services, both postal and mobile service providers, and Potraz would impose varied penalties on service providers.

Mr Munyaradzi said they would be on high alert to ensure service providers complied with the law.

This comes against the background where the quality of service, including call set up time (ease of connectivity), duration of uninterrupted calls and internet speeds have at times been and continue to be an issue for users.

Prior to Government’s promulgation of a law that specifically outlines quality of service standards, Potraz had no benchmark against which to hold operators, neither did consumers have basis on which to hold services, particularly mobile network operators. “We have been moving around the country interacting with consumers,” said Mr Munyaradzi. “We heard about their complaints and we also told them that they ought to direct complaints to Potraz.

“We will be issuing out show cause orders to various service providers on why their services were failing to comply with the law on quality of services. We will impose fines of varied amounts for operators who fall short of the benchmark of services.”

Mr Munyaradzi said in their interaction with consumers, the major complaint was on the duration of data bundles by mobile network operators. “They are complaining that there is a mismatch between the window period of say one week and the time that it will actually take when one is credited with data bundles,” he said. “They said the data bundles were not lasting the given duration.”

Mr Munyaradzi said while Potraz would look into the issue, there seemed to be lack of information that the one week window period was mainly for ordinary use of data bundles. “You will notice that in most cases, these data bundles have window periods in terms of say 90 megabytes,” he said. “So, an ordinary use would last one week.”

Gokwe Nembudziya legislator Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena implored consumers to be responsible in the use of social media. “It is a crime, as what Potraz officials would confirm, to send offensive messages,” he said. “Let us be responsible when we use social media via our mobile phones.”

Cde Wadyajena said Potraz was there to protect consumers and should fully use them in directing complaints.

In terms of new regulations promulgated and adopted by Potraz last year, telecommunication service providers are compelled to observe minimum service quality and customer care standards in provision of services such as voice, internet and data connectivity, short message and multimedia message services.

Potraz has in the past said it was disturbed by the shoddy service quality from some of the operators.

According to regulations, call completion rate, calls successfully set-up, maintained and terminated normally by the calling or called party should be equal or exceed 80 percent, while the rate of voice calls and dropped calls should be restricted within the two percent band.

Cooperatives Urged to Enhance Service Delivery

Members of cooperatives have been urged to improve service delivery to meet the target of improving lives.

The call was made Monday during the launch of the seventh week of Nkuwikorera, a Rwanda Governance Board campaign aimed at improving service delivery in all sectors.

The launch took place at Kigali Regional Stadium, Nyamirambo Sector, Nyarugenge District.

This week will be focusing on improving governance and management of cooperatives.

Activities will be dedicated to addressing challenges facing cooperatives, most of which are caused by poor management.

The function brought together public officials and members of cooperatives in Kigali, who had the opportunity to raise different concerns they face.

There are 350 cooperatives in Nyarugenge District with more than 12,000 members involved in services, trading, agriculture, technology, transport, and manufacturing, among other sectors.

Nyarugenge Mayor Kayisime Nzaramba commended members of cooperatives for their commitment to overcome poverty through working together and urged them to improve services.

“Working in isolation cannot take us anywhere. It’s good to work together but it’s better to work efficiently because good service delivery is the backbone of our development,” she said.

Mayor Kayisime cited monitoring, sharing of information and capacity building of members as a mechanism to improve services in cooperatives.

Cooperatives are credited with not only improving livelihoods but also playing a big role in reconciliation. However, poor management still hinders their progress.

Members of cooperatives appealed for support from the Government in punishing those who embezzle their funds.

Deogratias Bizimana, who represented Rwanda Cooperative Agency, said inept leadership remains the main hurdle to the progress of cooperatives.

“Cooperatives are the key to poverty eradication and national development, yet there are still poor services, which hamper progress. Cooperatives should employ educated accountants, external auditors as well as increase trainings to overhaul their operations,” he said.

Dr Félicien Usengumukiza, head of research, governance and monitoring at Rwanda Governance Board, reiterated that improving service delivery in cooperatives is the key to their success.

“Delivering efficient services requires no money, but change of mindset. Many problems in cooperatives are induced by bad leadership and we hope to solve many of them throughout this week,” he said.

A similar launch took place in other districts countrywide.

There are over 8,000 cooperatives in the country with the capital of Rwf38 billion.

Nairobi to Host Drones East Africa Conference

Photo: CIO East Africa

The Conference is set to highlight the applications of drones and the regulations governing the use of this technology across various sectors such as construction, transportation, mining, agriculture, energy and emergency services.

Officially supported by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, the Drones East Africa Conference will take place from 20-21 June 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Per a press statement on the event’s official website, it is set to highlight the applications of drones and the regulations governing the use of this technology across various sectors such as construction, transportation, mining, agriculture, energy and emergency services.

“Given the potential of UAVs, civil aviation authorities of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, have been taking huge steps towards releasing drone regulations in East Africa. This 2-day event was developed to provide updates on these regulations, identify innovations in drones technologies and provide an in-depth understanding of the various applications of these machines in order to help companies kick-start their drone operations,” the statement added.

“No matter what role you play in the drone industry, this event is a one stop shop for you to gain insights on this innovative technology and how it will be shaping the future. This conference will bring together some of the key stakeholders in the drones industry to discuss the upcoming opportunities for this technology in the region,” it continued.

Some of the speakers for the event include:

Robert Mwesigwa Nviiri, Executive Director of Social Security, Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency

Maria Stefanopoulos, Production Manager, ABC News

Patrick Sherman, Founder, Roswell Flight Test Crew

Claver Bazatoha, Director of Flight Safety Standards, Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority

Redemptus P. Bugomola, Director Safety Regulation, Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority

Dieudonné Harahagazwe, Senior Scientist, International Potato Center (CIP)

Richard Ruhesi , Director of Air Navigation, Uganda Civil Aviation Authority

Bernard Justus Muhwezi, Manager, Geo-Information Services, Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS)

Adam, Co-Founder, WeRobotics

Walter Okol, Marketing Manager, Equator Seeds Limited

Arnold Bett, Electronics Engineer – Senior Technologist, University of Nairobi

Nigeria: Cyber-Attacks – Govt Directs Telcos, Banks to Put Backups in Place

By Zakariyya Adaramola

As computer malware that has spread across 150 countries appears to be slowing down, with few reports of fresh attacks in Asia and Europe on Monday, the Federal Government has directed all Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and banks to ensure that their backup/ disaster recovery strategies are in place and up to date.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC ) which gave the directive on behalf of the Federal Government yesterday also advised all the telecom operators to initiate regular assessment and audit of their cybersecurity readiness.

“The Commission has further advised all operators to ensure continued deployment of effective firewalls, login passwords and antivirus management regime”, NCC’s boss Prof Umar Garuba Danbatta said in a statement.

The National Information Development Agency (NITDA) had earlier advised banks and other private establishments to upgrade their IT systems to forestall any possible attack.

A top official had told Daily Trust at the weekend that Nigeria might be a likely target “in the coming weeks”.

Private and public workers beginning the working week on Monday were told to be careful.

The WannaCry ransomware started taking over users’ files on Friday, demanding $300 (£230) to restore access, according to media reports.

More than 200, 000 computers are said to be affected so far. Computer giant Microsoft said the attack should serve as a wake-up call.

BBC reported that many firms employed experts over the weekend to try to prevent new infections.

Nigeria

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Nigeria: Onyeama Calls for Private Investment in ICT Infrastructure, Smart Cities

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, has stressed the need for Public Private Partnership (PPP) in driving Information Communication Technology (ICT) and development of smart cities in Nigeria.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of Transform Africa Summit 2017 in Kigali, Rwanda, that unless the huge infrastructure deficit in Nigeria was addressed, achieving the Smart Africa Initiative would be difficult.

A smart city is an urban development vision to integrate in ICT and Internet of Things (IoT), technology in a secure fashion to manage a city’s assets.

The minister, who said that Nigeria was engaged in the process of building smart cities, called for private sector investment in the sector to address the infrastructure challenge and achieve the goal.

He said there was need for collaboration between private and public sectors to develop ICT in Nigeria.

He added that “as it was said, there is no one technology that will overcome the challenge of infrastructure.

“What it just requires and I think this is what came out clearly, is partnership among government, the private sector and the academia; and together, the three can begin to put in place the building blocks to have smart cities, including in Nigeria.”

Onyeama said Nigeria succeeded in the communication sector because of Public Private Partnership.

He explained that in the past 20 years, Nigeria was able to engage the private sector to provide phone lines to about 100 million people as against the 400,000 telephone lines that were there to serve 150 million people.

He said that “the coming together of government, the political will and the private sector created the framework for private sector to come with the investment and the difference that was made.

“You had the NCC that had the auction that invited private telecommunication sectors and the result of that today was the over 100 million Nigerians connected on mobile phones.

“So my last word is that Public Private Partnership is really essential in driving ICT in Nigeria.”

NAN

Nigeria

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Tanzania Sparkles At Zone 5 Athletics Meet

RUNNERS compete in the 1,500m race during the final day of the Under-18 African Zone V Athletics Championships at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam yesterday. (Photo by Mohamed Mambo)

TANZANIA finished the Zone 5 U-18 Athletics Championship with bright colours, winning seven gold medals in the feat that evidences a serious bid to excel in Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

The two-day championship that climaxed yesterday at the National Indoor Stadium in Dar es Salaam, saw 13 local athletes qualifying to compete in the World Junior Athletics Championship to be held in July in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Much of the team’s success came from the women athletes who clinched five gold medals, four silvers and three bronze medals followed by Kenya and Sudan while Zanzibar finished fourth ahead of Eritrea, South Sudan and bottomplaced Somalia.

Overall Tanzania clinched seven gold medals, seven silvers and three bronze medals. Tanzanians excelled in relay for men while the women relay team clinched a silver medal after finishing behind the winners Kenya.

The performance of the women team in the track field brings hopes of creating many world-class runners in future, according to the views of athletics pundits.

If Tanzania women had won 400x 4, Tanzania could claim the overall championship. Kenya claimed the overall title after pocketing eight gold medals, four silver medals and three bronze.

Overall, Zanzibar finished third with four gold medals, five silver medals and four bronze medals. Sudan finished fourth with two gold medals, three silvers and two bronze medals.

Fifth overall are Eritrea with three silver medals and seven bronze with no gold medal. South Sudan are placed sixth with one bronze medal while bottom- placed are medal-less Somalia.

The Minister for Information, Culture Art and Sports, Harrison Mwakyembe, officially graced the championship. The championship came to a climax yesterday in a closing ceremony officiated by Tanzania Sports Council (NSC) Secretary General, Mohamed Kiganja.

Tanzania

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Rwanda: ‘Smart Rwanda’ Initiative Gets a Boost From Japan International Cooperation Agency

Photo: Timothy Kisambira/The New Times

One of the computers made in Rwanda on display at a past Transform Africa summit in Kigali.

By Peterson Tumwebaze

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has pledged more support to Rwanda’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector as the country moves toward a digital economy.

According to Toda Takao, JICA’s vice president in charge of human security and global health, the aim is to offer Rwanda full-scale technical support to implement Smart Rwanda master plan.

Under the new smart Rwanda master plan, government wants to focus on digitising the economy and positioning ICT as one of the key pillars of the country.

The initiative, dubbed “SMART Rwanda,” is aligned with the government’s national development strategy and ICT Sector Strategic Plan to create an information-rich and knowledge-based economy and society by 2018.

Takao added that Japan will continue supporting this cause through JICA to make Rwanda more competitive on the global scale.

“It is important that we support Rwanda’s innovative eco system to help create a conducive business environment that will help attract more investors into the country,” Takao who is currently in the country for the Transform Africa summit told The New Times, yesterday.

“A knowledge-based economy will require cutting edge innovative products that can be competitive in regional and global markets,” he said adding that JICA’s cooperation framework will continue to focus on priority areas including agriculture, infrastructure, energy and regional integration, among others.

Last year, the Private Sector Federation (PSF), through its ICT Chamber, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Japan’s Kobe Institute of Computing (KIC), a prominent private graduate school of Information Technology, to support Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.

The Japanese agency last year supported the construction of a digital fabrication laboratory to help boost business innovation and entrepreneurship skills in the country.

The hitech lab fuses design and production through the use of computer-aided design and manufacturing ability with help of three-dimensional modeling software.

The software allows designers to produce material digitally.

According to Rwanda’s ICT Sector Profile – 2015, as of December 2015, 33.5 per cent of Rwandans had access to internet and 77.8 per cent had mobile phones with mobile money subscribers reaching 7,663,199.

More than 500 ICT experts are currently in the country for the Transform Africa summit to discuss strategies on how best economies in Africa can leverage on ICT to become competitive.

Rwanda

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