Information Experts discuss Uganda’s ICT

I attended a meeting organised by the International Records and Archives Management Trust (IRMT) London from 18th -20th May in Eldoret Kenya. The meeting brought together Records Managers, E-Government/ICT and Freedom of Information Experts, to discuss the findings of a study on “Aligning Records Management with E-Government/ICT and Freedom of Information Policies in East Africa.’’

The survey collected views regarding the current situation on records management, focusing on awareness about e-government, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) usage in public service delivery, existence of e-Government infrastructure and investments, ICT planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, institutional and legal frameworks, and records management human resources. Among the core documents reviewed were studies and strategy documents championed by various agencies all geared towards the implementation of e-Government initiatives in Uganda. These included; the final feasibility study report for the National ICT Action Plan and e-Government Network 2006, a draft Uganda e-Government Strategy Framework 2007, Uganda National ICT Policy Framework 2003 and the National Information Technology Policy, 2009.

The exercises revealed that there is generally a substantial amount of investment in e-Government/ telecommunications infrastructure in the country owing to Uganda’s liberalised telecommunication sector. However, these efforts are uncoordinated and haphazard, thus leading to a proliferation of stand-alone systems which lack interoperability. The application or usage of e-records infrastructure is also still limited.

Similarly, it was discovered that there is inadequate legal and regulatory framework to support the effective implementation of the e-records management programme, and even where official mandates or guidance exist, the enforcement is weak.

The findings of this initial study confirm that government is trying to use digitisation in public administration. However, as it moves forward in relation to ICTs, e-government and freedom of information, public administration is suffering from a deplorable lack of software to facilitate the management of day-to-day office duties. This is accompanied by a lack of qualified IT personnel to manage and implement appropriate services.
This is a challenge to CoCIS to provide the trained human resources to support the new systems being rolled out by Government..

Dr. David Luyombya
Head of Department
Records and Archives Management (EASLIS)

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