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Call for gov't to share infrastructure with private sector

ISAAC PINIELO
Idle capacity: Government's ICT infrastructure is said to be underutilized
The transport and communications ministry has underscored the urgent need to review policy on sharing of government information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure.

ICT, which is one of the six national priorities, has been identified as a driver of the national economy.

In a report published recently, the ministry said revision of the policy on sharing of key government infrastructure would go a long way in facilitating the Economic Diversification Drive (EDD), employment creation and reduction of poverty.

It said government and the private sector must make better use of their communications and computing infrastructure if they are to take full advantage of the economic and social benefits of ICT.

“Infrastructure sharing can improve the Ministry’s strategic objectives while enhancing EDD and government revenues,” read the report, which was meant to update the public on the Ministry’s activities. It also stated that based on what the government has already invested in, as well as the type of advanced technology in place, the whole country could do better if the infrastructure is shared. “It said more jobs can be created and the economy can be expanded,” it stated. The Ministry regretted that currently there is certain government ICT infrastructure that is being used for government purposes only without being shared with other operators. “The concerned infrastructure includes radio and television transmitter network and Radio Botswana studios,” the Ministry stated.

According to the Ministry, this is despite the fact that this infrastructure is highly underutilised

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at a high cost to government.

It said this has led to small operators having to spend a lot of money on implementing their own infrastructure, adding that in the process, they engage service providers from neighbouring countries which lead to skills and money being exported across the border. “This comes as a huge opportunity cost for the economy of Botswana.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry said based on the delays in implementing the National ICT Policy (Maitlamo) and its consequential strategies, as well as a historical lack of consolidated infrastructural and support services in delivering ICT driven solutions, the Ministry still has a lot of work to do in order to operate optimally.

“The need to move quickly and to transform how things are done has recently been underscored by ongoing conversation within the PIC Force and Business Botswana around not only the aspects of doing business, but also those of cyber security,” the Ministry stated.

solutions (granules and powder) tomato ketchup, wire nail making, socks knitting, Soya milk extraction, potato wafers making and ice cream cone manufacturing.

 

Meanwhile, the Authority has four incubators across the country being the Leather Industries Incubator and the Glen Valley Horticulture incubator, both in Gaborone, the Light Industrial Incubator in Francistown and the Pilane Multi purpose incubator, which are reported to be performing well.



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