The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ogbonna Onovo, on Thursday said the police had designed new measures to combat car theft in the country. Onovo, who spoke at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja, said the police would soon open a web portal, which would fast-track the investigation of such cases. He said, “The e-solution to vehicle theft, which will become operational soon, will enable the police to have a comprehensive database of stolen vehicles in the country. It will also provide a platform for members of the public to make online reports to the police promptly while they get alerts through their e-mail addresses and mobile phones when a recovery is made. This holds the prospect of reducing the rate of car theft, discouraging fake insurance, putting a stop to multiple registrations and stifling the easy disposal of stolen vehicles by criminals.”
The Ugandan Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority has launched a Register of Providers, an online platform that profiles service providers in a bid to streamline the public bidding process. All local and international companies wishing to do business with the Ugandan Government will be expected to have their profiles in the database. Companies are required to present registration certificates, staffing capacity and education levels plus physical and financial stands.
Launching the register at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel yesterday, finance minister Syda Bbumba said: “It is one great measure that will help the Government to guard against incompetent companies winning tenders.” Over 1,000 firms are expected to have registered by the end of next year. Companies will pay sh150,000 (US$80) every year to be registered.
Eleven months after the Federal government introduced an electronic payment system in all its Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Nigerians are yet to feel its advantage over the manual payment system it sought to replace. People are blaming it for delays in the payment of salaries and other forms of expenditure by the Federal Government such as execution of contracts.
The government says it is aware of the limitations of the system and has promised to seek a lasting solution to it. While acknowledging the limitations and problems associated with the e-payment, it still maintains that the system is better than the manual payment system.
Kenya has launched an online food and agriculture statistical database as part of an ongoing project by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Dubbed CountrySTAT, the database aims at helping the country to effectively operate and maintain agricultural information systems. Agriculture Permanent Secretary Romano Kiome said the new system would help officials to plan agricultural development in Kenya. “This information is mainly targeted to policy makers and planners in the agricultural sector. It will help us make informed decisions,” Dr Kiome said, explaining that the government would be able to closely monitor availability of food, areas with the most produce as well as incorporate the price of commodities across Kenya.
CountrySTAT is a statistical framework and applied information system for analysis and policy-making designed in order to organise, integrate and disseminate statistical data and metadata on food and agriculture coming from different sources. The project is being implemented in 17 African countries through a $56 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. Kenya is the first English speaking country to implement the system and third in Africa after Mali and Burkina Faso. Cote D’Ivoire’s site has also been launched.
The 10th International “Law via the Internet” Conference, concludes today in Durban. Its theme is Global Free Access to Law and Developing Countries: Impact, Challenges and Networks.
An E-library project linking all the tertiary and educational institutions in the country to facilitate knowledge sharing and research activities for enhanced quality of education in Nigeria has failed to get off the ground.
The project had been developed by the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council on the promise of N40m ($260,000) in the National Assembly’s 2009 budget, but the funds were never approved by the Executive.
A study recently conducted in 24 African countries shows that the poor state of infrastructure in Sub Saharan Africa – its electricity, water, roads, and information and communications technology (ICT) – cuts national economic growth by 2 percentage points every year and reduces business productivity by as much as 40 percent.
“Africa’s Infrastructure: A Time for Transformation” finds that Africa has the weakest infrastructure in the world, but ironically Africans in some countries pay twice as much for basic services as people elsewhere. This study argues that well functioning infrastructure is essential to Africa’s economic performance and that improving inefficiencies and reducing waste could result in major improvements in African’s lives.
The report is the work of the Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic (AICD), an innovative knowledge program to improve public understanding of Africa’s infrastructure situation. By rigorously evaluating past infrastructure policy reforms, the AICD assists policymakers in setting priorities for current infrastructure investments and provides a baseline for monitoring progress. The AICD has undertaken data collection and analysis on the status of the main network infrastructures, including energy, information and communication technologies, irrigation, transport, and water and sanitation. The analysis encompasses public expenditure trends, future investment needs and sector performance reviews. Its datasets are publicly available online.
A group of 25 African tax administration authorities have united under the Africa Tax Administrators Forum (ATAF), to boost economic development and good governance in Africa. ATAF plans to develop a joint database of African Tax systems, carry out capacity development events on international and domestic policy and administration issues through a new body, the African Tax Centre.
At the launch of the body, President Museveni urged tax collectors to wean African economies from reliance on foreign aid, by increasing their efficiency and collaboration. Uganda’s Finance Minister Syda Bbumba advised the tax administrators to share experiences and best practices to shore up, widen their taxes bases and boost domestic revenue mobilisation on the continent.
The Nigerian Federal Government has said it will establish free universal internet service and viewing centres across tertiary institutions in the country. This is aimed at tackling the problem of low access to cutting-edge ICT resources among Nigerian students. Minister of State for Information and Communications, Ikra Bilbis, announced this at the weekend while commissioning a public viewing centre built by the ministry in collaboration with the Universal Service Provision Fund in Kaduna.
He said the importance of information technology cannot be over-emphasised, adding that the idea aims at putting information at the fingertips of the Nigerian students and their school communities in order to equip them to meet global challenges. “We are committed to ensuring that facilities of these nature are provided in all the tertiary institutions in the country. Already, we have finished constructing the first phase of the centres in all the six geo-political zones of the country and very soon, we are going to ensure that all schools, including some secondary schools across the six geo-political zones, benefited from the community-based communication programme,” Bilbis said.
Ghana’s Finance Minister Kwabena Duffuor delivered his 2010 budget last week with modest plans for ICT development.
The national fibre optic backbone will be extended to the northern parts of the country and all district capitals will be linked to high speed broadband. A criminal intelligence database will be developed.
“A business and performance based framework, known as the Enterprise Architecture, to support cross-agency collaboration and transformation of government-wide network and other public sector improvement in pursuit of a vibrant egovernment service delivery.”
Can anybody figure out what this could possibly mean?