Is government competing with the private ICT sector?

Government under the NITA umbrella has recently been doing a great job in the ICT sector. Some of the tasks being done by NITA cross cut with the services of the private ICT sector.

On January 17th, 2020 Bank of Uganda, NIRA and Nita launched the BoU NIRA e-KYC project that aims at the provision of know your customer services (KYC) to commercial banks from NIRA information records. The project conflicts NIRA’s attempt to source for a service provider to develop a gateway for the provision of the NIRA information record to the private sector. The licensed private sector player could bridge an important gap between the NIRA database and other private sector players in need of the data in a limited, secure and licensed manner.

It is important to note that NITA has equally taken up provision of IT services like website design for a couple of government agencies, local government and parastatals, a target business for many private sector ICT service providers. NITA has a lot to do in the ICT ecosystem but website design should not be among them.

The private sector is faced with multiple challenges including high costs of Internet, low FDI among others. Instead of appeasing its masters with some of the easiest results to show, the authority should concentrate on creating great policy frameworks for a competitive private sector that executes the tasks similar to what it’s currently undertaking. Is the government empowering or competing with the private ICT sector?