Minister of information and communication technology (ICT) Peya Mushelenga has announced a new role for the government information centre that had previously been used for Covid-19 briefings during the height of the pandemic.
The centre will now serve as a hub for communication on government projects, plans and the implementation thereof.
“Today is the start of this process, which we are confident would improve the dissemination of information on government projects, programmes and activities for the benefit of all,” Mushelenga said.
The centre was established as per the requirements of the Government Communication Strategy (GCS) for 2022 to 2027, he said.
The GCS was developed in August last year and approved by the Cabinet a month later. It is currently being implemented across all government offices, ministries and agencies, regional councils and local authorities.
The development and implementation of the GCS, according to Mushelenga, have transformed government communication and provides a clear and concise roadmap for all communication within the government.
Mushelenga used the platform to unpack his ministry’s key projects.
He said the cybercrime bill is being redrafted, as directed by the Cabinet committee on legislation (CCL), adding that the cybersecurity policy and legislative framework has been drafted to accompany the bill.
“The bill will be subject to public consultations before its resubmission to the CCL, which will then direct the next course of action,” he said.
Mushelenga said the data protection bill has been redrafted, following regional consultations, followed by a validation workshop with technical and financial support sourced through the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board.
Also drafted to accompany the bill, according to the minister, is the data protection policy and legislative framework.
This bill, however, is ready for submission to the CCL.
The minister said the amendments to the Communications Act have started and consultations and the bill has been modified.
“However, due to the volume of the proposed amendments, it is suggested that the act be repealed and replaced. The final bill is awaited from the Ministry of Justice,” Mushelenga said.
He said the national broadband policy and its implementation action plan is being implemented, and that with the assistance of the International Telecommunication Union, the ministry will soon commence with the consolidation of national ICT policies.
To support these ventures, various strategies and guidelines are in place.
Among them are the conducting of awareness-raising sessions on the national cybersecurity strategy and awareness-raising plan, and the Cabinet’s decision on 5G strategy, which is being implemented.
Mushelenga touched on other ICT projects such as the establishment of the electronic information systems management advisory council, which will exercise the powers and perform the functions conferred on and assigned to it by the Electronic Transactions Act.
Mushelenga said following the approval of the GCS, the ministry proactively drafted its two-year strategic plan for the period of 2023 to 2025.
This plan, he said, “is largely aligned with the provisions of the GCS, pending projects from the Harambee Prosperity Plan II and general ICT sector demands and expectations”.
Labour expert Herbert Jauch welcomes the move by the government to make information readily available to the masses.
“In principle any initiative that provides greater access to information is welcome, because having uninformed people is counterproductive,” he says.
“One only hopes this does not form part of a statement of intent by the minister, but would be implemented fully,” he says.