We are actively engaged in the review of the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Practitioners Bill, 2016 with a view to ensure that it conforms to industry standards.
BAKE joined other stakeholders, namely the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet), Kenya Information Technology and Outsourcing Services (KITOS), Technology Service Providers of Kenya (TESPOK) and iHub to review the Bill in its entirety to guarantee that if it has to be passed, it promotes growth in the sector. This was a step taken following the public participation process that was initiated, which was after the bill’s first reading in the National Assembly.
The stakeholders submitted a memorandum through the KEPSA umbrella, listing nine key concerns to the Energy Communication and Informational Committee of the National Assembly. These concerns were drawn from the crowdsourced concerns generated by the public. While this is a Private Members’ Bill whose public participation phase could only commence after being tabled in Parliament, we requested a deadline extension to facilitate the consolidation of practitioners’ concerns to the spirit of the bill. We also took note of communication from the Ministry of ICT that the Bill neither originated from the Government nor does it represent the Government’s policy position relating to the ICT sector in Kenya.
In brief, the nine issues raised by the stakeholders were:
1. Lack of stakeholder participation in the legislative process
2. The Bill contravenes and is unsupportive of the Government policies on ICT, youth and unemployment
3. The Bill has adverse Labour implications
4. Lack of research and analysis to identify gaps as the basis for legislation
5. Lack of harmonization with global ICT standards and licensing regimes
6. The Bill fails to take into account review of ICT Policy
7. The proposed institutional framework lacks clarity and merit
8. The Bill is incongruent with realities of ICT Training, Research and Development opportunities in the ICT Sector.
9. Innovation and learning/knowledge, technology transfer and fostering tech entrepreneurship will suffer if passed.
The stakeholders proposed the immediate withdrawal of the Information Communication Technology Practitioners Bill, 2016 and requested the National Assembly to recognize the ongoing review process of the National ICT Policy and accordingly advised the Ministry of ICT to fast track the finalization of the review to ensure policy coherence and alignment of legislation.
As negotiations are ongoing, the stakeholders have worked on and submitted proposed amendments to the Parliamentary Committee. This is because the Bill’s proposer Hon. Aden Duale is yet to agree to withdrawing it. As a Private Member’s Bill that has already been tabled before the House, only he, as its sponsor, can withdraw it at this time. The amendments aim to ensure that if passed, the Bill would not negatively disrupt the industry.
While reporting back about the public participation process, Hon. Jamleck Kamau, the Energy, Communication and Information Committee chair informed the Assembly that the committee received very divergent views that they were unable to make headway. They therefore requested for more time to consolidate the views and present a report to the House.
The stakeholders will keep burning the midnight oil to ensure that if the Bill proceeds to second reading, its contents reflect the reality of the sector. In addition, the stakeholders have engaged with Ministry of ICT and the Communications Authority of Kenya to consolidate views on the Bill, as well as submit joint proposed amendments to the Committee. We will also continue to actively engage in the National ICT Policy review process to not only align the two documents, but also ensure they advance the growth of ICT in the country.
Download and read the Letter and Memorandum to Parliament on ICT Practitioners Bill HERE.
Find the ICT Practioners Bill consolidated submissions from stakeholders HERE.