In a bid to adopt and adjust to the ever emerging technology, UCC, a government agency charged with the sustainable growth and development of modern communications sector in Uganda has equipped upcountry libraries to facilitate e-government services.
With the way modern technologies have transformed businesses and social services delivery, government has moved to adopt some of the ever emerging ICTs which will be able to modernize service delivery.
So far,UCC has equipped over ten public libraries of Hoima, Nakaseke, Soroti, Moyo, Paidha and Mbarara among others with ten computers each, multipurpose printers and wireless Internet.
While addressing the trainees and Hoima Municipal Council officials gathered at the library on Friday, the UCC Head of Consumer Affairs Joseph Kizito described e-Government as “the government moving away from Kampala and coming to your houses.”
By strengthening e-government, the government aims to simplify procedures, bring transparency, accountability, and make credible timely information available to all citizens with the anticipated aftermath being efficiency and cost-effective service delivery.
To promote effective usage and adoption of ICTs that will foster e-government, UCC through Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF) has been running a sensitization programme aimed at empowering users of the beneficiary libraries with knowledge about e-Government services.
Through this initiative and other related ones including Digital Literacy training for the informal sector, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Persons with Special Needs (PSNs), UCC/RCDF aims to build the public’s capacity in the use of ICTs in business and other key sectors such as education, agriculture and health.
NITA Uganda’s Stella Kobusingye revealed to the trainees that over 100 government services are now available online, the passport office and UNEB being just two of them.
Electronic government or e-Government is the use of ICT to deliver public services in a convenient, efficient and cost-effective manner using digital platforms.
Using digital platforms reduces the need for citizens to walk to government departments to get such services or for government institutions (MDAs) to deploy staff to interact with citizens face-to-face, thus reducing the cost of service delivery.
Through the Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF), UCC seeks to boost people’s ability to make use of e-Government services by equipping selected public libraries across the country with computers and internet connectivity infrastructure.
During the session UCC and NITA Uganda staff took small groups of library users through the eCitizens portal (eCitizen.go.ug) that NITA Uganda has developed to anchor e-Government services.
The chief guest Hellen Mulumba, a councilor in the Hoima Municipal Council, cited that since the library was equipped, usage has grown by 40%. In the week the sensitization outreach was conducted, 624 people were registered as having visited the library.
Earlier, at Mbarara Municipal Library, one of the beneficiary libraries, Adonia Katungisa, the Director of the National Libraries of Uganda, challenged the residents to make use of the free service.
“This facility is here free of charge for you to access; go to the [Internet] café only when we are closed,” he said.