Public servant feted for promoting digital transformation

James Kizza, assistant Commissioner IT, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), is the winner of the East Africa CIO of the Year Award 2019 for his crucial role in the trail-blazing digital development of the URA. Upon receiving the award from Joe Mucheru, Kenya’s ICT Cabinet Secretary, Kizza said that it was an expected win though it took a long walk considering the 26 years that he has spent in public service. 

This came after URA introduced digital tax stamps, electronic invoicing – electronic fiscal devices, non-intrusive inspection together with smart gates to better manage its services at the borders and improve client experience from a wait time perspective.

“Am glad that all major interventions today rely on IT and each year government relies on URA to extend the tax to GDP ( ratio and adds an annual increment to our target, which the Authority achieves owing to effective and successful deployment of technology to enable delivery efficient services,” Mr Kizza said.

While digitalization in URA stands at close to 96% of the business, the filing of returns is currently at 100%, said the soft spoken Kizza, who stressed that without IT the Authority would have no business. He envisioned and directed a number of technology innovations, laying a foundation on which many of what URA relies on today, in the process, pioneering major technologies in the region that has enabled consolidation and simplification the underlying delivery environment. 

The 2019 East Africa CIO100 jury led by professor Louis Fourie, former vice-chancellor at the Western Cape Peninsula University of Technology flanked by, Alex Ntale chief executive officer, Rwanda ICT Chamber, Bill Sangiwa, digital transformation expert in Tanzania, Charles Musisi, a senior ICT expert in Uganda and Elizabeth Ochieng’, ICT director, Deloitte, appreciated the high level of submissions for the awards. 

According to the judges, the role of the chief information officer (CIO) continues to evolve at a breakneck pace, and only those executives who embrace digital transformation will enjoy prolonged success and better the enterprises that they dedicate their energies to serve.

Stressing that incremental steps from sheer deployment of IT are insufficient in the present-day economy, Ms Ochieng’ lauded Kizza’s achievement while speaking on behalf of the jurists who in their appraisal described the winner as a passionate and consistent talent inspired to uphold the momentum of change in the dynamic digital space by involving the citizens and customers.

In what was reckoned as a rare surprise, Safaricom’s Mpesa Foundation Academy scooped the Company of the Year Award that was handed over to Paul Githuka, the institution’s CIO, by Laura Chite, CEO, CIO East Africa.      

“We chose to celebrate the leadership demonstrated by Kizza since he does not make any distinction between IT, technology and business and has proven that he realizes this region’s digital future depends with what one passionately does today,’ said Mr Musisi, a member of CIO100 adjudication panel from Uganda.

Besides the CIO of the Year winner, the Sammy Nyambu, CIO Mwalimu National Sacco, Kenneth Ogwang, CIO, East Africa Breweries, Edgar Okioga, Paul Ngugi CIO, M-pesa Foundation Academy, Joab MakOngul, CIO, Dayliff, Caine Wanjau, CIO Twiga Foods, Peter Kanda, CIO, Getrudes Children’s Hospital, Paul Njoroge, CIO Hand in Hand, Sammy Mwiti, CIO – Standard Chartered Bank, Eric Munyiri – CIO Kengen and David Igweta CIO – HF Group had been nominated for the coveted title. 

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