Earlier this week, a private members bill by Hon. Aden Duale called The Information Communication Technology Practitioners Bill, 2016 was brought to light. The bill proposes the creation of the ICT Practitioners Institute which will license all ICT practitioners in the country. Following its introduction, the bill has received widespread criticism from stakeholders in both government, media and private sector. The general public has also castigated the bill as a stumbling block to the thriving sector.
The ICT Cabinet Secretary issued a statement on the bill stating that it did not originate from the Ministry. The CS also stated that the bill does not reflect the policy position of the government of Kenya. The CS further stated the bill will undergo stakeholder consultation to ensure it aligns with the views of different players in the ICT sector.
Local ICT players led by Nanjira Sambuli spearheaded efforts to discuss the pertinent issues that arise from the bill which were to be presented to the Clerk of the National Assembly and eventually to the Energy, Communications and Information Committee. Some of the key areas of concern raised in the memorandum include the lack of evidence that consultations took place between the crafter of the bill and industry stakeholders citing the denouncing of the bill by the ICT Ministry and KEPSA.
The memorandum further cites instances in which the proposed law conflicts with existing laws including the draft ICT Policy 2016 as well as individual right to trade and agree to negotiations between parties. It also presents how the bill interferes with the implementation of the Vision 2030 blueprint as well as the Jubilee Government manifesto to boost youth in the ICT sector. ICT Practitioners Bill undermines proposals to create technology hubs in all counties, a key proposal of the Jubilee government manifesto. You can read the entire memorandum here and we certainly hope legislators will take heed of the proposals fronted.