By Nancy Emily Nagujja.
Private Sector Foundation Uganda in partnership with National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) held a consultative meeting at Hotel Africana on 16th March, 2022. The event was under the theme: Revisiting the Government data Integration and digitalization agenda (E-Government).
The Deputy Executive Director PSFU, Mr. Francis Kirinya gave an insight on the main sector that Private Sector Foundation Uganda is focusing on. Digitalization and data integration are part of the large program, (The Skills, Attitudes, Governance and Accountability project), dubbed the SG+ project that PSFU in partnership with Enabel is implementing.
Over the past 27 years, The Private Sector Foundation Uganda has made a great stride in advancing a collective private sector agenda. Their membership has grown from over 11 business networks, Professional associations and Micro enterprises in Uganda. Many of the people present have been part of this journey and are greatly appreciated for their contribution. The Project’s objectives include: to strengthen the PSFU institutional structures to meet the needs of members, to support members, build their capacity for global business competitiveness, to advocate for a business environment that is conducive for sustainable enterprise growth.
“Today marks a very important step in our partnership with The National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U). For the next couple of years, we together are going to work on different interventions aimed at improving the business environment through data integration and digitalization,” Mr. Francis said. The Skills, Attitudes, Governance and Accountability (SG+) project is one of such interventions, whose main focus will be improving the understanding, appreciation, and uptake by respective stakeholders on the Electronic Government (E-Government) processes. They believe that with such an intervention, they will have made a contribution towards assessing one of the most critical challenges to doing business in Uganda, which is Governance, Transparency and Accountability.
Private Sector Foundation Uganda and Private Sector in General are the image of the economy and thus their improvement will have a great impact on the economy. In that regard the SG+ project will serve as a model that can be replicated in other sectors. He extended his gratitude towards Enabel that led the negotiations to this project and also for taking on the contracting agency.
Dr. Ruth Biyinzika, The Chairperson of the Directorate of Industrial Training Council (DIT) and Head of Projects (PSFU) in her remarks explained the main objective of the SG+ project, the key activities, and expected outcomes. The Project’s main objective is to help make Uganda’s business environment more condusive and inclusive, increase green investments through increasing the supply of qualified workers establishing private sector led initiatives to fight corruption and strengthen the private sector dialogue.
She added that the project has four key pillars that include: governance and anti-corruption, public procurement, digitalization and data integration, corporate governance and a corruption reporting facility. The SG+ project team hopes to have an impact towards the following: increased transparency by government thus more confidence by the potential bidders and service providers. Increased access to government data by Private sector players leading to more efficient service delivery, encouragement of both local and international business enterprises in the country. The Work readiness Program will lead to a more competent and productive labor force, and thus resulting into a vibrant and more effective Private sector.
Ms. Virginie Hallet, the portfolio manager of Enabel in Uganda elaborated on what Enabel is and its contribution towards the SG+ project. Enabel is the Belgian development agency that implements the international development policy for Belgium in the different countries across the globe including Uganda. They work with partners in the public and private sector to provide solutions addressing urgent global challenges. In Uganda, Enabel has had a long standing experience in the field of health and education, with particular focus on teacher training and skilling. The project will jointly be implemented by Enabel and Private Sector Foundation Uganda, with a budget of 5 million EUR financed under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).
The Work Readiness Program will boost the skills and attitudes of the young graduates entering the labor market. It will establish a private sector led corruption-reporting mechanism. The project will improve transparency, facilitate public procurement, access to public tenders, reduce direct interactions between procurement officials and companies, increase its outreach and competition and allow easy detection of irregularities.
Ms. Caroline .A. Mugisha, the Acting legal director at NITA gave an insight of how NITA intends to contribute towards this project. NITA’s functions are mainly to champion the development and implementation of e-Government in Uganda, so as to achieve efficient and effective government delivery of public services. The NITA-U (E-Government) Regulations were made under the sections 5€, 6 (e) and 39 of the NITA Act, 2009 (Act 4 of 2009) by the Minister in Consultation with NIT-U Board. Under regulation 4, it is provided that NITA-U shall promote the establishment and maintenance of inter-operable information systems within public bodies.
Data sharing has a variety of advantages that include: efficiency and cost effectiveness (improved provision of public services) consistency of data across public bodies, emergency planning and response and informed policy making. The types of data include; personal data and other data. However this data sharing is governed by the English Public Law that requires public bodies to have a legal power to act within their powers, and enforces the adherence to the Access to Information Act. The Ministry, Department or agency may share the data it holds for a fee however following the principles that govern data sharing. Data sharing is a common part of a modern governance and the delivery of public services. Public bodies collect large amounts of data from individuals and other organizations in the exercise of their various functions and share these data with other public bodies.
The Private Sector Foundation Uganda In partnership with NITA and Enabel seek to improve the sector of Governance and Anti-corruption by working hand in hand to ensure the success of the SG+ project.