Government launches e-visa to attract investment

The initiative is meant to save time by reducing bureaucracy

BY Dorothy Nakaweesi

IN SUMMARY

Kampala- People who want to visit Uganda for business or pleasure can now apply for visas and permits online, thanks to the introduction of e-visa system.

The new system, which started functioning this financial year, eliminates earlier bureaucratic procedures which were slow and tedious.

While sharing some of their achievements with ICT Minister Frank Tumwebaze and his junior Idah Nantaba early in the week in Kampala, Mr Peter Kahiigi, the National Information Technology Authority - Uganda (NITA-U) director e-government, said: “The e-visa system will not only save time but also reduce on the human contact which many times see people ask for kickbacks in order to help travellers.”

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He asked government to help NITA-U ease the implementation of unified information technology systems, something which will save money from duplication of services by different departments.

He gave the example of the recent thousands of Ugandans who rushed to Face Technologies to renew and apply for new driving permits, saying this would have been solved in one day if they were connected to a single system.

Support needed
“We need political support to help us break the walls around the different departments. There is no reason why people paying for driving permits have to go through Uganda Revenue Authority and Face Technologies.

Let’s make the process simple so that they reduce on the time wasted which is money,” Mr Kahiigi added. Mr Tumwebaze emphasised the need to advance e-government initiatives through NITA-U to improve government efficiency in service delivery.

He said this will be done with the right IT infrastructure in place such as the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI), which is now in its third phase of implementation, and through integration of government systems.

“We are also committed to improving the quality of innovations and innovators in the country,” Tumwebaze added.

Other achievements
Mr Kahiigi said they have partially completed the one-stop-centre for investors at the Uganda Investment Authority.
It now takes six days to apply for investment licences from the previous six months and when the system is fully operational, this will further reduce.

He said this financial year NITA-U expects to set up a call centre that will help mitigate and immediately respond to social media viral messages.

But for this to happen, NITA-U will have to recruit man power to manage the call centre.

Cost of internet
Ms Vivian Ddambya, the director technical services NITA-U, said they have reduced the cost of internet from $700 (Shs2.3 million) per megabyte per second to $300 (Shs1 million) and have plans to decrease this further.
She added that in the new financial year they will complete the phase 3 of NBI and also set up Wi-Fi networks across Kampala and Entebbe business districts.

dnakaweesi@ug.nationmedia.com

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