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The Harare Institute of Technology is hosting the Local Authorities Digital Systems (LADS) Digital Transformation workshop on Campus from the 8th to the 11th of May 2023 for local authorities from eight provinces.

The workshop is being held in two clusters from 8 – 9 May and from 10 – 11 May 2023. Local Authorities from Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West and Manicaland are attending the first cluster, while Midlands, Masvingo, Matabeleland South and North will attend the second cluster.

According to the LADS Lead Engineer Teererai Maphosa, the workshop will discuss the smart cities concept and digital transformation, change management and process reengineering, the importance of websites in councils, managing information and communication technologies (ICTs), LADS successes and failures, challenges of digitalization in Zimbabwe as well as ICTs and financial management.Representatives from several local authorities are attending this workshop.

Addressing the delegates at the LADS Digital Transformation and Sensitisation Workshop, the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Honourable Marian Chombo, who is representing Minister July Moyo, commended the Local Authorities Digital Systems as an initiative that facilitates the ease of doing business and will enhance the public financial management that ensures the scares resources have maximum impact and are deployed where they are needed most in local authorities, as we are creating smart cities and contributing towards the creation of a digital economy.

“We have noted that ICT penetration and usage has been very low in the public sector and local authorities in particular, hence LADS is the potential solution and intervention to that challenge. Therefore, it is no longer an option but a necessity – The Future is Digital. I can also safely say the present is digital!” she said.

Honourable Chombo added that her ministry has embraced and taken the development of LADS seriously and is working with HIT on several ICT interventions.

“Local authorities are already utilizing the Budgeting Module as well as other various modules. In the year 2023, 54 local authorities crafted and submitted their budgets using the LADS format. We envisage the take-up to reach 100% by the 2024 budgeting period. Of Importance is the General Ledger Module which has been rolled out in Bindura and Mazowe.”

“May I also highlight that LADS will soon become a Strategic Business Unit (SBU) in the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, with HIT as the consultant. Funding for further Lads development will be done through a Devolution Operational Grant, hence local authorities will no longer pay annual licences once those funds are directed to HIT. In short, the funding will be drawn from government coffers and HIT will deploy personnel to support services for the rollout of modules that would have been approved to be operational,” Deputy Minister Chombo added.

She also urged the local councils to make sure that they deploy personnel that is trainable and capable of utilizing ICT systems, as it has been observed that most of the ERPs in councils are not being fully utilized because of human skills inadequacies. “Let me repeat my plea, that let’s fully utilize all the current modules of LADS and those to come. This is only possible if councils take affirmative action to deploy the right people where such systems are utilized and prevent those who are sceptical about ICTs from sabotaging LADS.”

“Let me thank you all for tirelessly working for the development of local authorities and guiding operations to improve service delivery. It takes the effort of a council to achieve Vision 2030 without leaving anyone behind. As a Ministry, we will not allow any council to be left behind in this digital transformation drive as digitalization is one of the pillars of the National Development Strategy One (NDS1),” said the Deputy Minister.

In his welcome address, HIT Vice Chancellor Dr Engr. Quinton Kanhukamwe told the delegates that HIT is Zimbabwe’s Premier Innovation and Technopreneurial University that provides a foundation for the strategies that allow for the budding of a new model of technological education, speaking and bearing testimony of our profound strict adherence to our mandate of developing, incubating transferring and commercialising technology for our nation’s rapid industrialisation.“Since its inception, HIT has been operating on a terrain characterised by change and some uncertainty, features that have given us the freedom to shape the future of the University in a way that is both meaningful and appropriate using our disruptive innovation model.”

“The need to develop HIT as a leader in technology based on multidisciplinary research and learning, taking advantage of alliances with the growing technology companies and research institutions in the country and beyond is one of our guiding fundamentals.”

“We are also guided by the need to meet the lifelong learning demand of non-traditional methods and build new configurations of learning through technologies, thus making HIT a laboratory and workshop for delivering a truly global learning experience.

The Vice Chancellor added that HIT is developing into a diverse and complex institution that specialises in Science, Engineering, Technology, Allied Health Sciences, Technopreneurship, Business and Management Sciences, and Professional and Collaborative programmes including technical pedagogy.

“We are committed to positioning HIT as a world-class Institute, in the vanguard of availing new technologies responsive to national strategic areas and capable of developing and delivering programmes flexibly, effectively and efficiently, thus enhancing our status as a technological institution of the highest calibre offering programmes and undertaking research in niche areas, at levels comparable with the best available anywhere.”

“In doing so we are guided by our strategic plan, “Designing the Future” – Vision 2025 document. In this roadmap, technology innovation is the touchstone of all our activities as we mould and produce a new generation of technology cadres that are hands-on, competent and proficiency driven, as well as have the stamina to venture into and set up hi-tech business enterprises.

Dr Engr. Kanhukamwe promised to offer HIT potential students the opportunity to realise their destiny by offering an unparalleled educational experience. “To industry and commerce, we offer a smart partnership platform. To the international community, HIT promises a conducive environment of innovation and creativity where technology and engineering thrive with the ability to make a major global impact through the production of commercialised intellectual property.”

“The University is contributing to the transformation of our economy through our signature of Innovation,” the Vice Chancellor said.

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