Contrary to what has been said in various newspaper reports on MTC’s network improvement and expansion project over the past weeks, MTC will execute the project in phases over a three-year period while adhering to its financial means and without eroding its profitability. This was emphasised by Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Stanley Simataa, yesterday when he referred to the provision and concomitant improvement and expansion of information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure as a national development imperative.
MTC’s network expansion plan, known as the MTC 081Every1 project, is a N$1.2 billion project that was officially launched in July 2017 by Simataa when he was still Deputy Minister of ICT. The project aims to provide 100 percent population network coverage.
According to MTC, the project was initiated in response to the desire to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural Namibia, thereby ensuring that all Namibians have access to quality networks, mobile connectivity, broadband accessibility and access to the information superhighway in line with the spirit of Harambee.
Local media recently reported that the former chairperson of MTC’s majority shareholder, Namibia Post and Telecom Holdings (NPTH), Ally Angula, apparently resigned due to political pressure to approve the infrastructure enhancement deal. Simataa yesterday was reluctant to discuss Angula’s resignation, confirming only that he received her resignation letter, which he accepted. He added that it would be “unethical” to discuss the reasons for her resignation.
During yesterday’s briefing at the MICT’s head office in Windhoek, Simataa noted that the network improvement and expansion of ICT infrastructure was executed by his predecessors and will continue to be implemented by future ICT ministers.
“This, therefore, implies that the project is not executed at the mercy nor at the whims or caprices of the incumbent minister. Like I said earlier, it is a national development imperative any minister appointed to this portfolio should and must honour,” said Simataa.
He added that like any other business, MTC should not be denied the business latitude at its disposal to invest part of its earnings to expand its business. I must state that during this time. MTC’s ability to run its business profitably and declare dividends, will not be impaired,” he stated.
Realising MTC’s 081 Every One project is expected to yield numerous benefits, including an additional 115,000 customers (mostly in rural areas) for MTC, increased investment opportunities for rural areas, boosting government’s e-governance services (including e-learning and e-health) as well as increased employment opportunities created for the duration of the project.