Tag: ICT

Source: MyBroadband

While the impact of COVID-19 on IT and telecoms companies is not as severe as many other industries, these industries are still faced with big challenges because of the downturn in the economy.

ICT companies which have a lot of exposure to the travel, tourism, and restaurant industries, for example, have to deal with a significant loss in revenue.

One of these companies is Adapt IT, which said the negative impact of the lockdown on its clients in the hospitality sector has resulted in 20% of its employees being unable to work or perform their regular duties.

The poor forecast of the hospitality sector has forced Adapt IT to consider staff cuts, and it is currently in a consultation process with 4% of its permanent staff who may be affected.

Altron COO Andrew Holden told MyBroadband they have had to effect temporary layoffs due to the inability of some customers to pay for services as their businesses had been affected by the lockdown.

“Where possible, Altron will seek alternative opportunities for affected employees within the group. Retrenchments are a last resort, and will be limited as far as possible,” said Holden.

Many other large tech companies like Altron, Dimension Data, Blue Label, and Alviva have also indicated that staff cuts may be necessary in the event of a prolonged economic downturn.

Salary cuts
Many South African IT companies had to implement salary cuts to mitigate the financial impact of the lockdown.

Salary cuts in the IT industry were necessary for two main reasons:

Many clients stopped paying because of the impact of the lockdown on their businesses.
Employees could not work because their clients had to close their businesses during lockdown.
In April, EOH CEO Stephen Van Coller announced that the company’s executive committee would take a salary reduction of 25%, with other staff taking a 20% pay cut.

This was needed because of the anticipated drop in payments from clients and future uncertainty on the full impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the company.

Cell C also implemented salary cuts and used the COVID-19 TERS Relief Funds to cover the shortfalls for those employees to the extent provided by the UIF.

Alviva told MyBroadband there were no mass pay cuts at the company, but that it had to implement salary reductions in a few isolated cases.

Altron followed a different approach to ensure the sustainability of the company. Instead of cutting salaries, it reversed all salary increases granted as of 1 March.

Good news for the telecoms industry is that very few of the large mobile operators and ISPs had to implement salary cuts during the lockdown.

Vodacom, MTN, Telkom, Liquid Telecom, Rain, Afrihost, Cool Ideas, and Cybersmart said they have not implemented any salary cuts during the lockdown.

The outlook for the South African ICT industry
While many large IT and telecoms companies were able to prevent retrenchments, they warned that the full impact of COVID-19 may result in staff cuts in future.

Alviva said the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and the company will inform their decision regarding future staff cuts.

Blue Label echoed this view. “Should the lockdown persist indefinitely, and economic conditions continue to adversely impact ourselves and our customers, hard decisions regarding retrenchments will have to be made,” the company said.

Dimension Data told MyBroadband should the need arise to reduce its workforce to ensure sound and responsible fiscal management, it would be done only after exhausting all possible alternatives.

“We will always take a long-term view of the market opportunities, trends, economic outlook, and investment and spend forecasts and put them in the context of our strategy and vision before making any decisions,” Dimension Data said.

Telkom said while it has not cut any salaries at this stage, it is still studying the impact of the virus and the lockdown on the business.

Budget: State-owned ICT companies by 2020

The Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) plans to establish a state IT company and a state ICT infrastructure company by 2020, although the exact functions of these new companies remain a mystery.

The telecoms ministry confirmed the news in the Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE) document, handed out to coincide with finance minister Malusi Gigaba’s National Budget Speech.

According to the DTPS, establishing these two new entities will involve merging different functions of the State IT Agency, Sentech and Broadband Infraco.

ITWeb first reported on the news of two state-owned ICT companies last year, noting the department had developed a consolidated SOC rationalisation process of key state-owned companies to form a state IT and ICT infrastructure company.

The ENE document says: “The department has submitted proposals for the establishment of these companies to Cabinet for approval and plans to draft their proposed mandates in 2017/18. Draft legislation will be developed for these companies in 2018/19 for submission to Parliament in 2019/20.

“To fund these activities, allocations to the ICT Enterprise Development and Public Entities Oversight programme are expected to amount to R797.4 million over the medium-term.”

Over the medium-term, the department pointed out it also plans to continue with the phased implementation of the 2016 White Paper on National Integrated ICT Policy, which will entail changes to existing legislation and the development of new legislation.

The White Paper was finalised and published in September 2016, and is supposed to replace the separate white papers on telecommunication (1996) and postal services (1998).

According to the department, it has identified that the Electronic Communications Act and the State Information Technology Agency Act require revision, and ICT commission and tribunal, and ICT state infrastructure bills need to be developed to make provisions for the department’s long-term strategic intent.

“To give effect to these activities, spending in the policy, research and capacity development programme is expected to amount to R271.2 million over the medium-term, increasing at an average annual rate of 4%.”

By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba for ITWeb 

SA slumps to 92nd spot in ICT rankings

Despite improvement in the performance of the majority of countries in this year’s ICT Development Index (IDI), according to assessment by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), SA’s global ranking continues to take strain.

South Africa slipped down four places from 88th position last year to number 92 in 2017, the ITU’s latest IDI rankings show.

The IDI is a feature of the Measuring the Information Society Report (MISR), which the ITU released during its World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Symposium today. The ITU is hosting this year’s symposium in Tunisia until 16 November.

Developed by the ITU in 2008, the IDI is a composite index that combines 11 indicators into one benchmark measure, which can be used to monitor and compare ICT developments between countries across the world. The ranking index has been described as a tool for monitoring progress towards a global information society and a core feature of the MISR.

The 2017 IDI edition ranks the performance of 176 economies with regard to ICT infrastructure, use and skills, allowing for comparisons to be made between countries and over time.

The most important aspect of the IDI is that countries should track their own year-on-year progress and make policy adjustments to grow their telecommunication or ICT sector, said Brahima Sanou, director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau for the ITU.

This year’s results show improvements have been most significant among countries in the middle of the IDI rankings, many of which are middle-income developing countries.

In addition, least developed countries improved their average IDI value, with mobile broadband attributed as the driving force behind bringing previously unconnected individuals online and catering for the ubiquitous data needs of the ICT ecosystem.

According to the index report, Africa has by far the lowest average IDI performance of any region. Only one country in the region, Mauritius, falls into the top half of the IDI distribution or exceeds the global average value for IDI 2017.

Although SA’s global ICT IDI rankings dropped during the period under review, the country, together with Mauritius and Seychelles, still ranks as one of the relatively high-performing on the African continent, says the report.

“As in other regions, there was relatively little movement in regional rankings between IDI 2016 and IDI 2017. At the top of the distribution, Seychelles moved from fourth to second position, at the expense of SA and Cabo Verde, while Gabon moved above Ghana, from seventh to sixth. The biggest gain in the regional rankings was made by Uganda, which moved from 24th to 20th position.”

By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba for IT Web 

Follow us on social media: 

               

View our magazine archives: 

                       


My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Top