PS directs ICT centres to run profitably, drive economic growth

02Jul 2020
By Guardian Reporter
Zanzibar
The Guardian
PS directs ICT centres to run profitably, drive economic growth

​​​​​​​THE permanent secretary in the Ministry of Work, Transport and Communications Dr Zainabu Chaula has directed authorities to ensure that all the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) centres built by the Universal Communication Service Access Fund (UCSAF) in the country-

-operate profitably so as to cover operational costs and thus propel economic growth.

Dr Chaula made the directive this week when she visited and inspected ten ICT centres in the Isles.

According to her, most of the centres have been generating losses and failing to operate effectively because they provide the ICT services free of charge to the community.

“We should not entertain free of charge services, the government’s major aim to construct these centres was to bring ICT services close to people, we expected that through service provision, the centres would be able to operate themselves and generate profits,” she said.

Dr Chaula further wanted the Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL) and the Tanzania Posts Corporation (TPC) to be more innovative and bring their services in the ICT centres.

“Services, such as mobile money, vouchers and SIMcards as well as the online postal services. These are the opportunities which you should be looking at to grab and improve your services,” she said.

For his part, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Work and Transportation in Zanzibar Shomari Omar acknowledged that the centres have been operating unprofitably for years as its leaders lacked an extra eye to run them commercially.

“It is true that the government spent a lot of funds to construct these centres. If these centres will be improved to provide quality internet services, more people will join thus improving income and profits,” he said.

Esuvatie Massinga, manager of the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) in Zanzibar said that the authority is working to come up with a special programme which will bar students and customers from watching porn videos in the ICT centres.

“We want these centres to be used to promote safe use of digital technology and not as centres of unethical actions, so we are going to supervise very closely to ensure that laws are not violated,” Massinga said.

Earlier, USCAF executive director Justina Mashiba said that the construction of the ten ICT centres spent 1.13bn/- (equivalent to 113m/- each).

According to her, the government estimated to generate a profit of 6m/- annually from each centre if well supervised.