By our reporter

Parliament has given the National Information Technology Authority (Nita-U) a green light to go ahead with the procurement of the contractor for the next phase of the National Backbone Infrastructure of Uganda’s ICT sector called the Missing Links.

The procurement had hit a snag after Nandala Mafabi acted the devil’s advocate to stop the ongoing procurement for the contractor.

The chairperson of the ICT committee in parliament through which Mr Nandala wanted to use to carry out his assignment, on Tuesday morning announced after meeting the committee members in a closed door meeting, that according to the law and PPDA guidance the committee cannot continue any investigation in the matter until there is a credible complainant after the process is completed.

Parliament joins PPDA and World Bank in ignoring pleas from Mr Nandala Mafabi’s efforts to thwart the process which is closely monitored by World Bank and the relevant government departments.
The Missing Links aims to connect all major towns across the country including Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies via an optical fiber cable network so as to reduce the cost of public administration, support delivery of secure e-Government services as well as enhance communications services in the country.

NITA-U has completed Phases I – III of the NBI/EGI Project.
The Chairperson of the ICT Committee, Hon. Annette Nyakecho reviewed communications from the World Bank and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority before the committee and said the procurement was ongoing and the Evaluation the report wasn’t available to enable the investigation into the allegations made.
MPs also heard that according to Paragraph 24.7 of the World Bank Guidelines 2014, NITA-U is not allowed to share information in any form relating to the evaluation until the publication of the award of the contract.

The expected benefits of this project include:
• Improve redundancy for the existing National Data Transmission Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) by creating more rings on the NBI and create redundant routes across the country geographically.
• Extend the reach of the NBI/EGI to other major towns and regions that are not covered under the current scope of Phase I – III. It was a process undertaken over several years and borne out of existing high-level requirements to cover the West Nile and some of the Northern Uganda Regions not covered in previous phases.
• Extend connectivity to the major border points across the country and achieve the objective of regional connectivity.