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  • Runs on both Linux & Windows
    Runs on both Linux & Windows
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    Unlimited Users for No Extra Cost
  • Web-Based And Can Be Installed Onsite or Hosted Online
    Web-Based And Can Be Installed Onsite or Hosted Online

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Remarks By Hon. Dr. Ham-Mukasa Mulira, Minister Of Information And Communication Technology At The Launch Of Savings Plus Software On 16th February 2008, Kampala, Uganda We are gathered here today, to celebrate the achievements in the ICT sector while affirming that indeed, ICT can work for, and improve the... Read more
FLT CEO Interviewed By Daily Monitor'S Smart Money Magazine HOW TO IDENTIFY IDEAL BUSINESS PARTNERS His was a passion to influence people for good but he neither knew how nor with whom. Mr Vincent... Read more
Presentation At The Launch Of Savings Plus Software On The 16Th Feb 2008 At Grand Imperial Hotel – Kampala. TOPIC: Enhancing The Quality of Life Using SoftwareBy Mr Tumwijukye Vincent – Chief Executive Officer (FLT) The Guest of Honour, Hon Minister for... Read more
ICT For Development Conference In 2008, FLT organized and sponsored together with UGANDA TELECOM, an ICT FOR DEVELOPMENT Conference. This was held at Grand Imperial Hotel on the... Read more
Savings Plus Makes Headlines Once Again SOFTWARE MAKES FINANCIAL REPORTING EASIER By Daily Monitor (April 19, 2010) Gone are the days when many business entities would require... Read more

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Remarks By Hon. Dr. Ham-Mukasa Mulira, Minister Of Information And Communication Technology At The Launch Of Savings Plus Software On 16th February 2008, Kampala, Uganda

We are gathered here today, to celebrate the achievements in the ICT sector while affirming that indeed, ICT can work for, and improve the livelihood of the ordinary Ugandan.

For a long time, the common man in the rural areas of Africa, and Uganda in particular, had been left out in the wave of ICT advancement. Yet to expect economic development without involving the rural population would be ill-advised.

  So far, the government has been working hard to create the right environment possible, so that our rural population gets access to ICT services.

However, there is still need for all the stake-holders in ICT, to study and realize how different our environment is from that of the developed world, so as to develop relevant solutions for our quite illiterate and poor population. We need nothing short of simple, easy to use, relevant and affordable ICT solutions. Such is the way the common man will be involved in the ICT development of our country, while we register economic development country-wide.

As we join FLT in launching Savings Plus - a software for Microfinance institutions and SACCOs, we witness that among us, are people already working to improve our society with ICT. I was impressed to learn that FLT is a Ugandan based technology company, with the vision of enhancing the quality of life in the whole of the developing world. Such is a mindset of a good investor - enhancing quality of life. I would like to commend FLT for the good work done in developing Savings Plus. I am aware it is a product of Research and Development, which investment is doubtlessly very costly. I am hopeful that Savings Plus will go a long way in improving the efficiency in our microfinance institutions and SACCOs around the country.

Pondering on today’s theme – ICT FOR DEVELOPMENT, I feel the urge to say something, in regard to the Role of ICT in alleviating Poverty.

There are obviously many routes through which this could occur. ICT’s direct contribution to poverty reduction can come either through the employment generating effects of ICT diffusion into poor rural and urban areas, or through its effects on enhancing returns from economic activities undertaken by poorer households. Its indirect contribution can come through facilitating and reducing the costs of delivery of services that either promote wage and self-employment, or help overcome structural constraints to the realization of the poverty alleviation effects of particular projects; and through improving the quality of delivery of employment generating and poverty alleviating projects being implemented by the government.

Agriculture is also being transformed by ICTs. Increasingly, ICTs spur the development of innovative programmes and research in the agricultural sector. Farmers worldwide are using ICTs to obtain market information, to bypass intermediaries and to obtain better prices for their products. Timely access to market information via communication networks also helps farmers make judicious decisions about what crops to plant and where to sell their produce and buy inputs.

Additionally, ICTs empower farmers, rationalize supply chains and improve productivity. ICTs also facilitate research and development, and information sharing on agricultural farm extension technologies and approaches (such as the development of effective seed technologies), particularly those that can work to enhance food security and subsistence. They can also assist in provision of information that warns fisher folk of storms at sea or facilitates the prevention or treatment of crop or animal diseases.

There are, indeed, reasons to believe that by facilitating decentralized and (entrepreneur-wise) distributed or diffused growth, the technology can bundle income increases with reduced inequality that can have poverty alleviating consequences. The effort to use ICT in poverty alleviation must thus focus on the new opportunities for micro- entrepreneurship that information technology offers.

The experience with micro-entrepreneurship has been restricted to the lower end of the technology, principally cable and pay phone operators. But even here, success has been greater in urban rather than rural areas, because of the higher costs of diffusing the technology to remote rural locations.

Thus developments in two directions are necessary if information and communication technologies are to contribute to employment increases. First, the costs of investing in the technology by micro-entrepreneurs need to come down substantially. Second, the opportunities for self-employment through such entrepreneurship should arise in other areas of information and communications technology.

Needless to say, efforts at reducing costs of hardware and connectivity in order to hasten diffusion and increase access are a frontline activity in the ICT for development area. If costs of diffusion are reduced there is a strong possibility of an increase in opportunities for wage employment and micro-entrepreneurship in new areas opened up by the technology. Thanks to the government that waved off taxes on computer hardware. An example of such opportunities is offered by the Telecommunication companies in the name of “Pay Phone” project. It has been noted that a good number of kiosks are located at points that ensure easy access and have achieved commercial viability. This has over the few years proven to be a source of self-employment or means of micro-entrepreneurship.

The second direct contribution to poverty alleviation that ICT can make is by helping raise the magnitude and reduce the vulnerability of returns earned by small producers from their economic activities. Though structural constraints like indebtedness can work to neutralize benefits; access to information that helps obtain better prices for their produce, identifies the location of fish shoals, warns fisher folk of storms at sea and facilitates the prevention or treatment of crop or animal disease are all examples where such benefits can be delivered by technology.

It has been known that Information is power. ICTs help in presenting and delivering information that is necessary for the ordinary user to make the right decision. This is why we are optimistic that products like Savings Plus, developed easy-enough to be used by the ordinary person, will improve the efficiency of Microfinance institutions and SACCOs, hence improving the livelihood of the ordinary citizen.

The direct effects of ICT on rural livelihoods can also come through a reorganization of economic activities that helps producers increase their returns. A striking case of such effects is the introduction of ICT devices into the management of operations of the different producer cooperatives around Africa. An example of such societies are the diary cooperatives. Milk testing for level of fat content is now faster, and payments are done electronically at some centres. This has greatly encouraged more farmers to produce for sale, and in due course improved their way of living in Uganda and Africa as a whole.

Besides the direct contribution that ICTs can make to empower livelihoods, it can contribute indirectly in two ways:

  1. by facilitating and reducing the costs of delivery of services that either promote wage and self-employment or help overcome structural constraints to the realization of poverty alleviation effects of particular projects; and
  2. Improving the quality of delivery of employment generating and livelihood improving projects being implemented by the government, by smoothing the process of delivery and by improving the monitoring of both the delivery and effects of the project through e-governance.

It is widely accepted that access to credit is crucial to improving rural livelihoods. Microfinance ventures organised through Self Help Groups is a useful complement to state provided credit, especially in a developing country like Uganda. The problem, however, is that microfinance ventures, even when successful from the point of view of reaching credit to the poor and ensuring high recovery rates, are characterised by high administration costs, due to high prices of consultancy services. There is need for the consultants to devise packages suitable and affordable for these financial institutions.

Finally, I would like to thank FLT and UGANDA TELECOM, who have sponsored this conference and devised packages that best suit the Microfinance and SACCO industry. I would also like to appreciate the work done by the apex bodies in the names of; Uganda Credit & Savings Cooperatives Union (UCSCU), Uganda Cooperative Alliance (UCA), and Association of Microfinance Institutions – Uganda (AMFIU). You have all done a commendable job in shaping this industry.

We look forward to embracing the good fruits of this conference, as our people’s livelihoods change for the better.

I thank you