Minister of Technology and Science, Felix Mutati, has urged the new ZICTA board to make entry fees into Information Communication Technology (ICT) as low as possible in order to create employment and investments in the sector.
Mr. Mutati said high fees are a hindrance to investment in the ICT sector.
Speaking when he unveiled the seven-member ZICTA board in Lusaka today, the minister said ZICTA should therefore target to create resources from investment as opposed to fees for players trying to penetrate the sector.
Mr. Mutati said low fees will attract a significant amount of investment in the sector.
“Fees are a significant barrier to investment. Let us keep the fees of entry into the sector as low as is practically possible. Where we should make money is from the investment side, that is what is going to create the jobs, that is what is going to create the entrepreneurs that we need,” he said.
He also called on the board to treat ICT players as partners in development.
Mr. Mutati said as much as ZICTA is the regulator, the authority should cultivate a relationship of being a partner with stakeholders.
“We should treat players in the sector as partners in development and you shouldn’t take the posture that you are policemen policing the sector. You are not policing the sector, you are actually working with the sector to see how they can place more and more investment,” Mr. Mutati advised.
Mr. Mutati has meanwhile observed that the performance of the ICT sector needs to improve.
He has therefore challenged the new ZICTA board to ensure that the sector starts performing to regional standards.
“The ICT sector in Zambia has not been contributing significantly to the GDP of the country. At present, our contribution to GDP is only two percent and when you look at the regional level, it is always upward of seven percent. So our performance in terms of the ICT sector requires to be rebooted,” Mr. Mutati said.
And speaking at the same event, new ZICTA board chairperson, Mundia Muya, called on government to strengthen ICT regulation.
Professor Muya observed that ZICTA’s budgets are based on limited allocations approved by the National Assembly.
He said funding arrangements need to be addressed if the authority is to work effectively.
“The ZICTA budget falls far short of the funding requirements for the authority. Government may not have been clearly informed about this,” Prof. Muya said.
Prof. Muya will be deputised by Milner Makuni, who is the Vice Chairperson of the Board. Other members of the board are Dr. John Chintu, Maureen Mwanza, Edward Chiteta, Beatrice Mutandi and Bubala Chibota.
Two more members will be added to the board in the near future.