The Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Tjekero Tweya, has assured the public that the draft legislation aimed at ensuring access to information will see the light of day before the end of this financial year.
In its quest to ensure that people have access to information in order for them to make informed decisions, the ministry during the last financial year drafted bills on access to information, social media use policy and a communication plan, as well as reviewed issues around national information as per the Harambee Prosperity Plan’s pillar of Effective Governance and Service Delivery.
Presenting his budget motivation speech in the National Assembly last week, Tweya said the ministry’s website has since been revamped and is now up and running. The public can access information such as government contact details, policy documents, cabinet releases, press releases, speeches including the one he presented, and information on all three organs of the state – the executive, legislature and judiciary – at www.mict.gov.na.
Tweya said the country’s information communication technology industry has grown in leaps and bounds during the past few years, adding that “as a country we are rated in the ITU’s Measuring Information Society Report 2016 as one of the most dynamic countries in Africa”.
“Our mobile telecommunication continues to upgrade its international link capacities on WACS and other sea cables to provide higher bandwidth capacities. The implementation of Long Term Evolution Advanced (LTE – A) was done in order to cover the population with faster data and internet services,” he said.
With regard to Telecom Namibia, Tweya said the company has made progress during the past year in expanding its fibre network footprint, despite the negative economic climate.
He said that during this financial year, Telecom plans to implement a number of programmes including the replacement of obsolete technologies, critical maintenance projects, high speed broadband fibre to customers, enhancement of its operating and business support tools and 3G/4G mobile roll-out of 60 more base stations.
“The expansion of the national fibre backbone network to Otjiwa (Talismanus) via Rietfontein and De Hoek from Buitepos will also be carried out during this financial year.”
He said another backbone expansion project of Telecom is to extend coverage from Eenhana to Okongo while upgrading the TN mobile sites at Omundaungilo and Oshuuli in Ohangwena Region to 3G.
Additionally, Tweya assured that New Era Publication Corporation (NEPC) would continue to deliver on its mandate of providing an objective and factual information service by compiling and publishing newspapers, mainly New Era, New Era Weekend and Kundana.
He said these papers would report on community-related issues, particularly such issues as may be of importance in the rural areas of Namibia, and on national interest and government related matters which may concern respective communities, distribute the newspaper nation-wide and practise sound business growth and development.
NEPC and its and its subsidiary NAMZIM, which publishes the Southern Times, were allocated a total of N$47 100 000.