TO EXECUTE PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE: NITA-U Executive Director James Saaka

The National Information and Technology Authority (NITA-U) will work with all designated stakeholders to ensure that technological advancement is achieved in the country.

The disclosure was made by the NITA-U Spokesperson Stephen Kirenga and comes in the wake of President Yoweri Museveni directing that Uganda Telecoms (UTL) take over the National Data Transmission Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) and E-Government Infrastructure (EGI) projects from NITA-U.

And in an exclusive interview seen by EagleOnline, Mr. Kirenga said NITA-U would adhere to the presidential directive. ‘We are a law-abiding agency and will adhere to the directives from His Excellency the President…from the government and Executive,’ Mr. Kirenga said.

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In the interview Mr. Kirenga also dispelled talk doing rounds that the management of the multi-billion NBI deal won by technology company Soliton Telmec, was inappropriately secured.

‘The procurement of managed services supplier for the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) fibre was undertaken as per the International Competitive Bidding (ICB) practice, a global practice. Additionally, all the guidelines as stipulated in the Public Procuerement and Disposal of Public Assets Act (PPDA) were followed with subsequent approvals being gotten from all relevant parties,’ Mr. Kirenga noted.

He also refuted assertions that some NITA officials benefitted from the Soliton Telmec deal.

‘Not only is this untrue, it is also unfortunate that sections of the media could publish such mistruths. The framers of erroneous news and malicious publications, however, clearly seek to create intrigue and discord that hampers the collaboration that NITA-U and various other government bodies have developed to make the NBI project successful and viable into the future,’ Mr. Kirenga added.

‘Globally, the managed services model is best practice and allows for institutions to benefit from shared value by having a Network partner take over the management and enhancement of highly evolved network process capabilities which leads to significant enhancement in the delivery of a superior Customer Experience,’ Mr. Kirenga said in a phone interview.

He also enumerated some of the achievements registered over seven years since NITA-U took over the NBI in 2013, and these included among others a reduction in connectivity costs from US$1200 in 2011 to about US$70 in 2017. He also noted that in Uganda the provision of internet services by NITA-U at about US$70 is cheaper than other service providers by 71 per cent and that the same service is 56 percent cheaper than the regional average.

Further, Mr. Kirenga said NITA-U had laid an Optical Fibre Cable Network of 2,400 kilometres, in the process connecting thirty three major towns in Uganda and offering internet communication services to 344 government offices across the country.