What you need to know:
- Part of the Shs36b will focus on promoting the digital economy and supporting micro, small and medium size enterprises
Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) will use part of the Shs36b received from MTN under the Universal Service and Access Fund to expand ICT services and deepen uptake of communication services across the country.
Speaking at a ceremony to receive the money, Ms Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo, the UCC executive director, said part of the money will focus on promoting the digital economy and supporting micro, small and medium size enterprise sector players across board, including those operating informally.
For that to make sense, she said, issues of connectivity and inclusivity will have to be addressed, starting with digital literacy, connectivity and skilling.
“We want them to have skills that will help them create employment for themselves and be part of the digital economy,” Ms Sewankambo said at a function to receive the funds that focus on bridging the digital divide in the country.
“We will continue to focus on helping people on the bottom of the pyramid in terms of poverty levels access ICT devices. At least every house hold should have a phone or a gadget. And we are committed to ensuring that happens,” she added, revealing that so far UCC’s Universal Service and Access Fund has over the years enabled government to set up computer labs in about 1,300 secondary schools and given out about 4,000 mobile phones devices to the vulnerable households.
UCC retains just about 1 percent of the the money received under Universal Service and Access Fund with other beneficiaries being the ICT Ministry and the Consolidated Fund.
All telecoms in the country are required to pay a statutory 2 percent levy on their annual gross revenues to the Fund administered by UCC.
The Shs36b, therefore, which is an equivalent of 2 percent of MTN’s annual gross revenue, is in fulfilment of the legal requirement.
Ms Sylvia Mulinge, the MTN chief executive officer, said MTN was glad contribute to the Universal Service and Access Fund that will not only help deepen digital services but also boost various sectors of the economy such as education, agriculture and health, among others.
“We believe that our support towards this Fund will also help us achieve our ambition of ensuring that everyone enjoys the benefits of a modern connected life,” she said, noting that MTN remains committed to developing the ICT sector in partnership with government to harness technology as well as fostering economic growth.