The National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) has been cleared to roll out the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) Missing Links Project, after the Authority’s top officials met and updated members of the Parliamentary Committee on ICT about the multi-billion venture.
Today’s meeting that cleared NITA-U to embark on the project was a follow-up on queries raised by Budadiri West MP Nathan Nandala Mafabi, who had sought information on the procurement details of the Missing Links Project undertaking hat involves the laying out of concentric rings connected through optical fiber cable that will ensure self-resilient National Communications Infrastructure.
During the interactive meeting, the Chairperson of the Parliamentary ICT Committee Annette Nyakecho noted that Paragraph 24.7 of the World Bank Guidelines 2014 bars NITA-U from sharing information in any form relating to the evaluation until the publication of the award of the contract.
She also welcomed views from the committee members on how to proceed in-light of two letters from the World Bank and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority that provided guidance that the procurement was ongoing and the evaluation report wasn’t available to enable the investigation into the allegations made.
Consequently, Ms Nyakecho directed that NITA-U officials be invited back once the Missing Links procurement process had been concluded.
In response, NITA-U welcomed the development. ‘NITA-U welcomes this guidance from the Parliamentary ICT committee, World Bank and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) as it will allow for the conclusion of the procurement process of the national strategic project, Missing Links,’ a February 20 release by the Authority reads in part.
Through NITA-U, the government of Uganda (GoU) is implementing the National Data Transmission Backbone Infrastructure and e-Government Infrastructure (NBI/EGI) project to connect all major towns across the country including Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies via an optical fiber cable network so as to reduce the cost of public administration, support delivery of secure e-Government services as well as enhance communications services in the country.
Following the successful completion of Phases I – III of the NBI/EGI Project, and to ensure the network is able to consistently provide 99.9%, the Missing Links project was started upon. The expected benefits of the Missing Links project include among other objectives, improving redundancy for the existing National Data Transmission Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) by creating more rings on the NBI and create redundant routes across the country.
Other objectives include extending the reach of the NBI/EGI to other major towns and regions that are not covered under the current scope of Phase I – III, and extending connectivity to the major border points across the country to achieve regional connectivity.