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CICs to offer online passport, e-government applications

by Staff reporter
25 Dec 2020 at 07:09hrs | Views
THE establishment of community information centres (CICs) across the country is set to enhance ease of access to key Government services such as passports, birth certificates and identity documents whose applications will be done online.

The Government, through the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz), has set up more than 146 CICs across the country as part of a digitalisation drive to transform Zimbabwe into a modern economy.

Access to ICTs and effective participation in the digital economy is regarded as critical in improving the quality of life for all. The Government identifies development of a vibrant digital economy as one of the key pillars under the newly unveiled National Development Strategy (NDS1:2021-2025).

Speaking during the official launch of the Filabusi CIC in Insiza District, Matabeleland South province on Monday, Potraz director general, Dr Gift Machengete, said interventions were being made to ensure every Zimbabwean has access to ICTs and has basic ICT literacy.

This comes as the telecommunications regulator has revealed that the country's internet penetration has jumped to about 60 in the third quarter of 2020 from 56 percent in the prior comparable period.

Moving into 2021, Dr Machengete said Potraz would scale up the rollout of more CICs, which should be the launchpad for the e-government project. He said the relevant infrastructure was being set up with the Government now expected to move with speed in rolling-out the e-government services.

"Using CIC infrastructure, citizens need not travel to provincial capitals anymore to apply for identity documents as well as birth and death certificates," said Dr Machengete. "Even passports can be applied for online from any CIC, once the project has taken-off. One can imagine the convenience this would bring to the citizenry. Such is the power of ICTs and such is the potential of CICs."

The Minister of ICTs, Postal and Courier Services, Dr Jenfan Muswere, presided over the launch of the Filabusi CIC, which is now offering locals to access digital services such as internet surfing, electronic mail service, printing, scanning, photocopying and document binding for community convenience.

Dr Machengete said Potraz was receiving numerous proposals from potential partners seeking to work with the authority in unlocking wider economic value from CICs.

"Some have proposals to churn out e-health from CICs. Some would like to advance e-commerce trading from CICs and others have concepts around e-agriculture," he said.

"All these are welcome developments that speak to the potential CICs have in transforming the fabric of our marginalised societies.

"All proposals are being assessed in consultation with Zimpost who will be responsible for the day-to-day centres."

Matabeleland South Provincial Minister of State and Devolution, Abednico Ncube, commended Potraz for buttressing the Government's drive to bridge the digital divide and promoting the spread of ICTs to rural and underserved areas in Zimbabwe.

"Indeed, CICs enable the community to exchange information, create opportunities and provide a learning platform," he said.

"This is commendable indeed, particularly as the country has embarked on a journey to Vision 2030."

Source - chroncile