By Makutu Manneh
The Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy has updated the public on its activities and their vision for the next five years since establishment in May, 2022.
The Ministry had a press conference on 27th January, 2023 at its premises where the Minister briefed the public.
Ousman A. Bah, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, said his Ministry is the pillar and umbrella to lead and drive the digital transformation of the Gambia.
“We are the Ministry that will transform this country from poverty to prosperity, from a dependency to independence. We are reasonable for generating the revenue for this country,” he said.
He said in 2022, they were able to deployed four LTE stations in Banjul, Serrekunda, Kotu and Abuko for people to connect to the internet through their routers and dongles, adding that their goal was to establish eight of these stations and there is work in progress to achieve this.
The Minister added that they have issued four CPE routers to government offices while they gave internet dongles to officials.
Secondly, Minister Bah said they are digitizing addresses in the country and that they were able to successfully implement this in Banjul in collaboration with the Council and 2, 464 addresses were digitized covering all properties.
“The second phase was implemented in Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC), in partnership with the Council and a total of 32, 000 addresses were covered. The third phase is currently being implemented in the West Coast Region starting with Kombo North,” he said.
According to Minister Bah, once the addressing is completed the Brikama Area Council (BAC), is expected to generate significant increase in revenue as they will be able to identify a single home and a rental property which he said is important when it comes to taxation.
He went on to add that they were also able to issue every single government employee with an email address and there are now 2500 email accounts created for public servants.
He said a draft of the government email policy will be tabled to cabinet in their next sitting for adoption.
Minister Bah, said the other achievements made by his Ministry was the signing of the AU Malabo convention on cyber security and personal data protection in November 2022, the cabinet adoption of the national cybersecurity policy and strategy and that the cybercrime bill was adopted in cabinet with few amendments and the bill is expected to be submitted to the National Assembly for consideration and adoption to become a law, the tabling of the ECOWAS free roaming regulation before the cabinet earlier this month, the feasibility of establishment of tech hubs at the UTG and regional innovation hub across the country and the signing of agreement with digital co-operation (DCO) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The Minister went on to say that their vision for the coming years are to provide a second submarine cable in the country as everybody complains of the expensiveness of the internet in the country and this will give us more capacity and provide us more access to reduce the cost of internet; the implementation of a robust payment gateway switch for the country; implementation of a Tier 4 Datacenter; E-Governance and digital identify.