Minister of Information and Communications Technology (MICT) Tjekero Tweya says Government has laid down a plan to have 100 percent network coverage for both cell phone and radios countrywide.
With technology being regarded as vital tool to access information, most would agree that increased access to network is a necessity in a country as Namibia.
Speaking to Prime Focus Magazine, Tweya explains that making sure that every Namibian has access to information may not happen overnight, however, admits that the problem of slow or no network is visible and doing something about it is what has been outlined in his performance agreement.
“I know that there are some rural areas with no network coverage and I am doing something about it, it is not something I can just thumb suck if that was the case, I would have given the rural communities a solution already,” he says.
According to Tweya, no time frame can be given to assure the public how long it would take the Ministry to make sure that every Namibian has access to network, because a brick has to be set up first to be able to know how long it would take them setting up a tower at each village.
“I can only give a time frame from the day I start putting up a brick there and then the tower to determine when network would be available for a certain area, because it is a long procedure. An environmental certificate should be obtained first and then equipment’s must be outsourced as well as the money should be available,” Tweya says.
Although the Ministry has plans in making sure that everyone has access to network, Tweya says that funding continues to be a challenge.
“Money should be available to set up towers in rural areas and we don’t have money and I am also not getting the necessary support from people that have money and that is why it is a headache for me, however, I have committed myself to making sure everyone is covered,” he says.
Although Tweya has identified funding as the main obstacles in the way of making sure that every Namibia can access mobile network, he reveals that, “I have identified one place called Schillip, a small village between Kalkrand and Rehoboth, I selected that area to have it covered because they did not have network, but now they are able to watch NBC and use internet. I am using that as a bench mark to roll out in terms of my plan for 100 percent coverage.”
Tweya further mentions that the Schillip tower will be completed by the end of August, saying that once it is completed it can be used as an example of his promise towards the nation.
“We are still busy at the moment, however people are already using their computers at school and interacting with one another. I don’t have to take another 26 years to accomplish my mandate, it shall happen now,” he says.
Although Tweya believes getting support from entrepreneurs would be a drop of water in the ocean, he assures that the Ministry will soon start identifying more areas.
Tweya says, “Making sure that everyone has network on their mobile phones, able to watch programs and watch the news as well as listening to the radio is part of my mandate, it is not just a blank statement. People must have access to information, and there is no negotiations on that.”
As far as Tweya is concerned implementation is his main concern and no amount can be revealed before the Schillip tower is completed.
He says, “I cannot give you a specific amount for the project we are currently busy with, I don’t believe in many documents pilling up counting how much is needed but nothing is being done, weather it will cost a million or five dollars that is not my concern,” adding that, “I believe in being able to tell that a project has cost how much when already standing. People are not interested in theory, people want to use radios and watch television not be told about money while nothing has been done yet.”