Govt finalising revised ICT policy: Mandiwanzira

MANDIWANZIRA SUPA (19)Fungai Lupande Herald Reporter
Government is working on a policy that will ensure telecommunications companies share infrastructure such as towers where possible to save their companies and the country millions of dollars, Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira has said.

Speaking at an ICT Suppliers of Zimbabwe annual general meeting in Harare on Tuesday, Minister Mandiwanzira said it was nonsensical for telecommunication companies not to share infrastructure and such greed was costing the country millions of dollars.

“We will not force players to share their infrastructure but we are finalising the revised ICT policy, which we will take to Cabinet and later to Parliament as soon as possible,” he said.

“We know that companies invested in the infrastructure but it does not make any sense that each company should invest on their own. Sharing is not for free and they should learn to share.

“To those who say players should not share, they are ill-informed and probably sitting in London so they do not know what we are talking about.”

Minister Mandiwanzira said if players could agree and share the same tower, they would save huge costs.

“This extra capital can then be deployed in other areas, saving the county millions of dollars. We are aware that there are some considerations and concessions to be made to make this possible,” he said.

“We are seized with ensuring that the environment in the ICT sector is conducive for the growth of the industry.”

Minister Mandiwanzira applauded President Mugabe for implementing the ICT lab per school Community Information Centres (CICs) project in Murombedzi recently.

“I encourage players to be innovative and invest especially in untapped areas such as application development, cloud computing local content creation, eCommerce, big data, animation amongst others,” he said.

Minister Mandiwanzira urged players in the ICT industry to take the opportunity to network and forge possible partnerships with other countries at the Innovation for Africa Digital Summit (IAD) to be held in Victoria Falls this month.

ICT Suppliers Association of Zimbabwe chairperson Mr Cuthbert Mapurazi complained about the tax increase on IT products.

“The increase in tax defeats the purpose for which duty was removed on ICT products some four years ago,” he said.

“It is now costly to import these products and it will impact on our retail pricing, rendering the products beyond the reach of ordinary consumer.”

ICT Suppliers of Zimbabwe is a non-profit making organisation.