Understaffed ICT ministry continues to cripple the sector.

By Solomon Lubambula
Whereas the Information Communication Technologies (ICT) could be the springboard for country’s economic development in the near future, the sector is faced with a number of limitations. Since its inception in 2006 the ministry of ICT has not attained the staffing requirements among other challenges that pull down its performance

These limitations were evident when lawmakers seating on the ICT Parliamentary committee expressed worries over the inadequate staffing of the ministry of ICT, saying this is crippling the ministry’s performance.

Discussing the ministerial Policy statement with the ICT minister Nyombi Thembo, members on the ICT parliamentary Committee noted that the inadequate staffing negatively affect the much need development of the sector that has potential to boost the country’s economy.

The ministry does not have sufficient Human Resource to be able to perform the tasks it is mandated to do and that has compromised its ability to execute numerous ICT projects since the sector is so dynamic.

Committee members including Edward Balidawa Kafufu, Paula Kyiryapayo asked for the ministry’s plan to address the insufficient capacity in order to implement the different ICT projects in the country.

The concerns come at a time when the country has embarked on mass registration for national Identity Cards, SIM Card Registration among other projects that capture personal information from citizens.

The committee Chairperson Vincent Bagiire stressed that these inadequacies could have adverse threats on the management of projects like Information security.

The sector is understaffed in as far as information security is concerned; the National Information Technology Authority (NITA) has one director who is not sufficient to deal with information security issues in the country.

 “Our desire is to see that they recruit more staff in the department so that we can be able to avert any cyber threats that may be targeted to our country”-Bagiire said.

Responding to members’ concerns, the director regulation and legal services at National Information Technology Authority (NITA) Uganda, Stella Alibateese admitted that it is true that there challenges for the directorate of information and security.  Presently the directorate has added one more staff.

“we have a recruitment plan and we are negotiating with Ministry  of Finance to provide wages so that within this coming financial year we can recruit at least 2 or 3 more people”-Alibateese

Bagiire who is also the Bunya West MP advised the ministry that was established in 2006 to have a comprehensive budget plan to address the challenge of inadequate staffing. He added that the budget and recruitment plans should consider the stiff competition for the competent IT human resource, if it is to meet its targets.

The ministry is staffed at 30 % and that alone is insufficient for it to be able to undertake any project and do it to its logical conclusion.

“we think that the ministry should be recruiting but we also know and recognize they cannot attract the very competent people, given the public service salary scales in place unless they are going to pay them the money that is paid by private sector”. Bagiire added.

Meanwhile many people were optimistic that the establishment of the ICT ministry would tackle the high levels of unemployment in the country especially for the young graduates of Information Technologies (IT) from many of the Universities around.