The Cabinet has directed the Ministry of Finance to get a competent investor to revamp Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL), whose service license was extended for 20 years to allow the company to upgrade its network.
In meeting chaired by President Museveni, the ministers authorized the Minister of State for Investment Evelyn Anite to work with the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) to vet the capacities and records of the various prospective investors who submitted in their expressions of interest (EOIs).
Further, cabinet resolved that Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) should allow UTL to expand its Frequency Bandwidth (spectrum) ‘so long as it can prove that it will use it efficiently’ to cover the whole country and provide better quality service.
“The resultant entity to become the preferred provider of internet services to all Ministries Departments and Agencies of Government by guaranteeing it unlimited access and use of the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) to enhance government shareholding to a range of 32 per cent and 45 per cent,” the Ministers noted.
It should be recalled that last year, government directed the MDAs to outsource airtime and internet services from UTL. But this has since proved unsustainable because the company is heavily indebted and needs to be revamped.
Hitherto, the National Information and Technology Authority (NITA) has been providing internet services to 322 MDAs through its National Data Transmission Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) and E-Government Infrastructure (EGI).
Also, to facilitate the huge undertaking, NITA has laid an Optical Fibre Cable Network of 2,400 kilometres, connecting thirty three major towns in Uganda.
The above developments by NITA have ensured that connectivity costs have over the last seven years, reduced from US$1200 in 2011 to about US$70 in 2017.