Chamisa slams budget allocation

HARARE - Information Communication Technology (ICT) minister Nelson Chamisa yesterday slammed Finance minister Tendai Biti for allocating “meagre funds” for his ministry in the 2013 national budget.

Chamisa — who believes ICT is key in steering Zimbabwe’s moribund economy towards recovery — said the $7 million allocation by Biti is a “drop in the ocean” compared to the sector’s role.

He said considering that government had put in place a broadband strategy that sought 100 percent data connectivity by 2015, Biti had to do more to advance the technological cause.

“The resources allocated are not enough to improve our infiltration levels,” Chamisa said.

“The ministry is mainly dependent on private-public partnerships to run,” he said.

However, Chamisa could not state how much exactly his ministry needed.

“We could do with well over $50 million dollars,” he said.

ICT has become a key driver of global economic growth over the past decade. It has impact on the efficiency of firms which in turn affects economic growth.

In his budget, presented a week ago, Biti focused more on the mining sector, projecting that it would be the major driver of Zimbabwe’s economy next year.

Biti allocated $159 million to the agricultural sector, which he said was also key in driving the economy.
However, Chamisa argues the country has to keep up with global development trends through technological expansion.

He said Zimbabwe’s future economic prospects are anchored on ICT development.

“ICT is an economy within an economy. Without communication you cannot breathe, without communication you cannot educate. ICT allows leaders to lead, farmers to do farming. Everything boils down to communication,” Chamisa said.

“ICT reduces time, reduces geography it’s a shortcut to success and victory,” he added.

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