By Enacy Mapakame
GOVERNMENT is engaging mobile service providers to slash prices of data within the next month in an effort to make internet services more affordable, Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe, chairman Mr Ozias Bvute says.
“In the next month, we should be at a point where data is affordable. We do not want price to be used as a tool for discrimination,” said Mr Bvute.
He was responding to questions at a meeting to promote dialogue between the regulator, industry stakeholders and innovators in Harare yesterday. He said reducing prices of data will enhance internet accessibility and connectivity with the rest of the world.
According to the regulator, internet and data market registered consistent growth emerging as the most dynamic market. Internet penetration grew from 45 percent in 2014 to 48 percent in 2015.Mobile data utilisation grew by 117 percent to record 3 682 860 182MB in 2015 from 1 695 368 025MB consumed in 2014.
Mr Bvute said internet services must be used to enhance knowledge through research and improve on innovations within the sector and the general economy. Such innovations, Mr Bvute said, will eventually bear fruits as the ultimate goal is to commercialise them to support the budding innovators and grow the sector.
This is also in support of the ICT Policy which requires a third of ICT procurement be reserved to local producers.
“You are aware that at times when something is excessively cheap, they may be used for wrong purposes, but we are confident that all the initiatives that we want to put together will ensure that our innovators have access to the outside world.
“The second thing is that they do it in a manner that is affordable, and that we will be able to commercialise those innovations so that they make money for themselves and the country as a whole,” he said.
Additionally, POTRAZ together with parent Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services are working on a plan that seeks to revolutionise ICT within Government departments to enhance efficiency.
ICTPCS Minister Supa Mandiwanzira acknowledged Government was lagging behind in terms of ICT. “As Government we take the blame that we have not been able to move fast and adapt to changes in the world,” he said.
But through his ministry and stakeholders, Government is spearheading a programme that promotes young innovators to come up with ideas that can be used to improve efficiencies in all sectors of the economy.
For instance, a Harare Institute of Technology student Clive Nyapokoto created a mobile application that can be used to improve agriculture productivity and efficiency.Minister Mandiwanzira said Government was ready to work with such innovators to boost local industry.
He added large corporates have already shown interest to partner such young innovators grow their applications that can be used in other sectors such as health, banking and finance, security, road traffic safety and education. The Herald