Almost 100 percent of the overall ICT budget stipulated for the year 2008 and the first half of 2009 has been executed according to a report presented to stakeholders last week.
The Sector Performance Report 2008-2009 that was presented by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the Ministry in charge of ICT in the office of the President, attributes this mainly to the fact that projects implemented in the mini-budget were ongoing, a rollover over from the 2008 financial year.
The total allocation for this period was Rwf10.6 billion of which 99 percent was well utilised.
However, according to the report’s analysis, a number of projects were facing some challenges. For instance, the report says that the Wireless Broadband (WiBro) access network for Kigali, which is to extend to 5 major cities, had been constructed, but was yet to be commissioned.
The project was supposed to be functional by the end of September this year.
According to the report, a contract was negotiated and signed with Horizon Construction to extend the WiBro Network to 5 districts though its execution had not yet started.
The report says that five nodes situated at the district headquarters of Kamonyi, Gisagara, Nyaruguru, Kirehe and Ngororero were not connected to the national grid of Electrogaz and that was going to be a problem.
As pertains to the National Backbone Network whose aim is to avail connectivity and adequate Internet bandwidth to all parts of the country, the report states that there are challenges in undertaking large scale civil works due to lack of enough machines and experienced engineers to conduct the civil works.
However it also adds that the construction of the National Backbone Operations Centre (NOC) at the Kigali ICT Park was 95 percent complete.
It also decries the lack of enough highly skilled staff, who would be needed to facilitate full operations of both the Kigali Metro and National Backbone sites.
According to the authors of the report a proper entity should be created to give all concerned more flexibility in hiring skilled people by providing competitive packages.
The National data centre which aims to provide physical infrastructure and application hosting facilities to public and private sector had already recruited a Senior Network Administrator.
”The official was also mentoring the technical team in order to strengthen their capacity in managing the Data Centre. However, there is lack of a legal framework for the Data centre which needs to be adopted under the ICT Bill by Parliament,” the report adds.
According to the report, Rwanda enjoys a lot of support from its development partners. With some of its greatest support coming from the RCIP to a tune of $ 24 million, the eRwanda Project injecting $10 million and SIDA who are supporting with $4 million.
One of the major challenges facing the implementation of the projects, cited by the report, include the incompetence of some local firms in implementing critical ICT projects.
Procurement procedures that were termed as ‘unnecessarily long and complicated’ for both the GoR and a given donor, were also cited. The lack of technical expertise was also noted, a challenge, it says, that is also a nationwide challenge.