Mthabisi Tshuma, Business Correspondent

GOVERNMENT is in the process of intensifying the process of accelerating digital innovations that promote telecommuting and remote working.

Since the rise of the pandemic, there has been a closure of a number of businesses which inturn has led to many workers working from home.

Increase of digitisation has been the norm in the new normal where people use communication devices to mingle and do their business.

This is a way which has been tapped into by individuals and cooperates in order to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

The Government also recently launched Africa’s first virtual communication and collaboration platform Glue Virtual Platform (Glue VP), a brainchild of Zimbabwean born Professor Richard Chinomona,
which is providing African Governments the opportunity to keep all their information on their Government secured servers.

The Virtual Platform provides the user a wide range of features such as presentations sharing, video sharing capabilities, Multi-User Whiteboard, Screen sharing, Recording, Break-Out Rooms, Polling for users, Shared notes, Public and private chat rooms amongst others. It is built and intended for use by individuals, entrepreneurs, small and medium businesses, large enterprises, corporates, governments and their agencies, community and non-profit organisations, churches and educational institutions.

Africa has in the past has had to rely on virtual collaboration and communication platforms developed outside the African continent such as Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Team, Google Meet and Cisco Webex among others.

Speaking at the handover ceremony of the fully equipped and refurbished Ward B5 yesterday, ICT, Postal and Courier Services Minister Jenfan Muswere said the ministry and companies under its purview had accelerated digital innovations that seek to promote telecommuting or remote working.

In a speech read on his behalf by his Deputy Minister Cde Dingumuzi Phuti, Minister Muswere said it is the role of Government and cooperates to come up with strategies of mobilising resources for the fight against the pandemic and this can be done by utilising advancement of technologies.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically affected the entire world, and Zimbabwe has not been spared. During such a national crisis, it becomes imperative for Corporates to assist the Government by mobilizing resources towards the mitigation and containment of the crisis, as part of Corporate Social Investment (CSI).

“As the ICT Sector, we have a critical role to play as a key enabler that supports all other economic activities across all sectors. This pandemic has become a spring board that has seen my Ministry in conjunction with players under our purview accelerating digital innovations that seek to promote telecommuting and remote working in order to reduce contact risk and curb the spread of the virus,” he said.

Deputy Minister Phuti said that players in the ICT sector worked effortlessly in seeking up of Covid-19 Response toll free lines.

“I am happy to advise that as a sector all players contributed immensely towards the setting up of the National Covid-19 Response Hotline 2019, through the donation of various ICT equipment and toll-free lines to facilitate the set-up of the Ministry of Health and Child Care National Emergency Call Centre Facility.
“In addition, the sector also contributed to the setting up of the 2023 Hotline to enable the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting services to effectively disseminate critical information during this COVID-19 season, this facility is also operational and working smoothly,” said Deputy Minister Phuti.

Deputy Minister Phuti said the ICT sector played have demonstrated their unwavering support and commitment towards augmenting Government’s efforts in fighting this invisible enemy, which is threatening to destroy humanity.

“I stand here today, to unveil a Covid-19 response package by 2 Telecoms companies under the Ministry’s purview, namely NetOne and TelOne. Both entities resolved to collaborate as State Owned Entities in the Telecoms Sector on a 50/50 Joint Covid-19 Mitigation Corporate Social Investment Initiative and put together a combined total of ZWL$10,000,000.00 towards both the immediate needs as well as medium to long term projects that seek to capacitate our public health facilities.

“This commitment was pledged to His Excellency, The President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Cde. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa at State House in April this year. A fortnight ago, we were at Sally Mugabe Hospital witnessing the fantastic work by NetOne and TelOne and today I am excited to be unveiling a newly refurbished 35 bed Ward B5 here at Mpilo Hospital. It is indeed gratifying to see the sterling efforts of these two entities in the ICT sector as well as the impactful contribution they continue to make in improving our health sector during such a challenging period for Zimbabwe and the world as a whole,” said Deputy Minister Phuti.

He added that the economic recovery of the nation and the world at large will be leveraged on rebuilding through smart technologies premised on ICTs.