ICT Ministerial Stakeholders Forum

The KEPSA ICT Sector Board met with ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, ICT & Innovation Principal Secretary Victor Kyalo and Broadcasting & Telecommunications Principal Secretary Sammy Itemere on 2nd February 2016 to discuss various issues facing the sector.

 The Cabinet Secretary said that the Ministry shall direct its investment towards ICT Infrastructure development, building skills through Education and development of regulations to create an effective and competitive regulatory environment within the ICT sector. Further focus will be directed to ensuring effective services sharing within government, getting technology to reach citizens, and ensuring citizens ease access of ICT services. CS. Mucheru noted that the partnership between KEPSA and the Ministry would be fundamental in positioning Kenya as an ICT Hub for the region.

 KEPSA ICT Sector Board Chair, Mr. Mike Macharia thanked the Ministry it’s the commitment to the industry noting that the collaboration will address challenges pertaining to fragmented governance systems and create a collective bargain for citizens at all levels. Mr. Macharia said that the country is strategically positioned as Africa’s Silicon Savannah which will enable the country create a niche for itself with technology as its trademark.

Discussion on status of issues pertaining to the ICT Industry

Private sector players presented various issues impacting on the industry

  1. General Topics
  2. National ICT Master plan

 KEPSA noted that there is need for clarity on the private sector’s participation in implementation of National ICT Projects. Further, ICT has a role to play in monitoring the Buy Kenya Build Kenya policy to promote local participation. The sector further noted that there is need to build Kenya’s economic wealth through Intellectual Capacity Protection as has been done in developed world

ICT Sector Financing

There is need to increased budgetary allocation and consolidate other Ministerial & State Corporations ICT budgets in order to integrate ICT into service delivery.

Implementation of ICT Projects under the Northern Corridor Integration Project

An MOU between members of the Northern Corridor Technology Alliance (NTCA) was signed during the 12th Summit held in December 2015. The sector will need to engage with the National Treasury ahead of the next summit following the formation of a PPP cluster during the 12th summit as the Identification of projects that Kenya would uptake and lead. Scoping of ICT aspects of all the projects will be a priority for the NCTA.

In response the CS noted that the One Area Network conversation needs to expand to other aspects of ICT and called upon the private sector to play an active role in other initiatives such as the Smart Africa Initiative.

 

  1. Private sector participation in ICT Economic Diplomacy: There is need to engage the ICT industry private sector players in ensuring value is derived from all economic diplomacy missions . The upcoming Israel mission would in particular be very important in ensuring exchange of information on innovations growth and ICT SME scale ups.
  2. Global Entrepreneurship Summit

There is need to follow up on commitments made during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in July 2015 and work towards ensuring private sector participation in the next summit, which could be used to Position Kenya as an ICT Hub.

Caucus Specific Topic

1. National Fibre Optic Infrastructure

The NOFBI infrastructure is not achieving its full potential because of management issues. A review of engagement with the current manager was proposed. Further, KEPSA sought to understand status of expansion of the NOFBI infrastructure.

In response the Principal Secretary noted that the current contract ends in 2016 after which it will be reviewed. A team comprising of all operators has been formed towards developing a management consortium as opposed to the current single manager model. Further he noted that there has been an expansion of about 7,000kms and response time has reduced from 8 to 4 hours.

The CS noted that cable cuts during other infrastructural projects have been a major hindrance thus the need to have NOFBI integrated into and recognized as key critical infrastructure.

 2.Presidential Digital Talent Programme

The Presidential Digital Talent Programme is  a skills transfer initiative in which the government has partnered with the private sector to enable youth gain skills from private companies and take up positions within Government. Out of the 100 beneficiaries who underwent mentorship in private sector in the previous phase, 47 have been employed by government while others have taken up permanent jobs within the private sector.

400 beneficiaries will be enrolled in the next phase which will start in March 2016. There is need to:

a)    Expand the programme nationwide

b)    Restructure governance and provide financing for the advisory council which has been running on voluntary basis.

c)     Provide rebates for private sector members providing mentorship to the beneficiaries

d)    Clarify the grading of the beneficiaries level of entry at Government, grading and salaries

Policy and Legislative Framework

  • Access to Information Bill, 2015 and Data Protection Bill, 2015: KEPSA submitted a memorandum on these two constitutional Bills and requested for support towards incorporation of the input in the final Bills and finalization of the Bills before the extended constitutional deadline of August 2016.
  • Cyber-Crime Bill: This Bill needs to be drafted by the office of the Attorney General and not by the Office of Director of Public Prosecution as this is beyond the mandate of this office.

The PS however noted that the Bill is now being drafted by the Ministry and Kenya Law Reforms Commission and that KEPSA has been invited to nominate a representative to the committee charged with drafting the Bill.

  •  Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendment) Bill 2015: the proposal to include an amendment through the Miscellaneous Amendment Bill to allow private sector participation in the Universal Service Advisory Council was not included in the final Act. The proposal was aimed at improving governance of the Universal Service Fund (USF), established under the Kenya Information and Communications Act. KEPSA requested the Ministry to support inclusion of the amendment in the next Miscellaneous Amendment Bill.
  •  East African Community Electronic Transactions Bill, 2015: The Bill was passed by EALA pending presidential Assent. KEPSA requested the Ministry to advise the president to withhold assent and ask the EAC Heads of States to refer the Act to the East African Legislative Assembly for the consideration of pertinent issues raised through a memorandum submitted jointly by KEPSA and LSK.
  •  Kenya Information & Communications draft Regulations: KEPSA has submitted comments and recommendations on the Regulations and requested for further consultation with the Communications Authority (CA) before finalization of the regulations.
  • Draft Copyright Act Amendments Bill: KEPSA requested theMinistry of ICT and CA, which have the expertise on online content regulation and intermediary liability protection, to be involved in the public consultation process on the Bill.
  • Kenya Information and Communications (Registration of SIM-Cards) Regulations 2015: KEPSA noted that the 13th February 2016 deadline of Sim Registration as provided under the Amended Sim Registration Regulations is not feasible and requested the CS to suspend the implementation timeline for existing subscribers registered under the Previous Regulations.

The CS however called upon the operators to further dialogue on the matter noting that the request may be based on lack of willingness to implement the regulation.

 Digital Learning Programme

KEPSA noted that the implementation of the programme will play a significant role in driving innovation and called upon completion of the Bills to ensure effective implementation of the programme.

 Enterprise Kenya

There is need to ensure clarity of the governance structure to instill confidence in financing and drive execution capability, agility and transparent transformation.

 SME Maturity Model

The SME maturity model as presented during the last PRT aims at maturing SMEs towards increasing job creation. Technology will play a significant role in gathering information and disseminations as well as creation of a SMEs database. It will therefore be important to collaborate with the Ministry to have the ICT industry pilot the programme.

In this closing remarks the Cabinet Secretary called upon private sector to expand the agenda and include other concerns including:

  • Collaboration for effective running of Konza
  • Intervention to address concerns between Local Taxi companies and Uber
  • Netflix
  • OTTs and their regulation
  • Listing ICT companies in the stock market
  • E- Commerce
  • Talent Exchange among others.

The next meeting shall be held in 14 days to discuss the issues raised in details and provide feedback for the issues discussed.