A while back, a private members bill by Hon. Aden Duale called The Information Communication Technology Practitioners Bill, 2016 was brought to the mainstream. The bill proposed the creation of the ICT Practitioners Institute which would license all ICT practitioners in the country. Following its introduction, the bill received widespread criticism from stakeholders in both government, media and private sector. The general public also castigated the bill as a stumbling block to the thriving sector.
The bill proposed that all members involved in the sector must register with the body to be eligible to practice. To register one must be a holder of a degree/diploma in ICT or have 3 years experience in the field or prove to be a member of good moral standing with the licenses acquired during the registration valid for only a year. On the enforcement side of things, it offered that those who offered false information during registration would be fined Kshs. 500,000 of risk 2 years in prison.
The Ministry of ICT issued a statement on the bill stating that it did not originate from the Ministry and added that it did not reflect the position of the government of Kenya. Local ICT players on the other hand presented a memorandum to the Clerk of the National Assembly which highlighted pertinent issues with the bill.
The Ministry of ICT is now reporting that the bill has been rejected by the government on the position that the bill will isolate Kenya from the global stage and dissuade individuals from participating in ICT innovation. The same was communicated by Godfrey Mureithi, who organized a petition to President Uhuru Kenyatta on Change.Org to reject the bill. The petition gathered over 4,000 supporters. The rejection comes as a sigh of relief to most of us in the ICT sector who saw the bill as a major stumbling block to the thriving tech ecosystem. We are hopeful that sponsors of bills or even motions relating to the ICT sector will consult widely with players to identify what is best for the sector.
So what’s next?
The Bill can either be withdrawn by the mover or amendments made on the document before being taken to back to Parliament for debate.