ICT PS Lauds ICT’s role in the Kenyan Economy
The Principal Secretary in the State Department for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and innovation Jerome Ochieng’ has shown his appreciation for the contribution of ICT to the growth of the country’s economy.
The PS was speaking while attending the training of accredited suppliers, contractors and county officials on ICT standards where he revealed that Kenya is at the moment one of Africa’s fastest-growing ICT markets.
According to Ochieng’ the ICT sector has increased productivity in all spheres of production and enabled the expansion of skills, contributing to improved standards of living among Kenyans.
“The Economic Survey 2021 report provides an overview of the ICT sector performance and development trends. It recognizes that ICT output increased by 2.5 % to Kshs. 538.3 billion in 2020,” said Ochieng’.
The purpose of the forum was to build capacity and sensitize the accredited government ICT suppliers and contractors on the rationale and framework of the accreditation service that the Ministry through the ICT Authority has installed according to the set standards of ICT.
The ICT PS implored stakeholders to work together in addressing the challenges that need to be overcome so that the goals of the National ICT policy can be achieved.
According to him, some of the challenges that need to be addressed include the under-utilization of ICT in the provision of government services and the underdevelopment of opportunities for economic growth and the creation of jobs.
Other challenges include Cultural and attitudinal resistance to the implementation of ICT-based services and offerings, cybercrime and cyber-security vulnerabilities as well as few ICT competent and skilled human capacities.
The PS revealed that the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs have developed the National ICT Policy 2019 and laws that will regulate the standards and services in the ICT sector.
“Through the ICT authority, the Ministry has developed and administered ICT standards that are aimed at rationalizing and streamlining the management of all government of Kenya ICT functions,” added Ochieng’.
The PS also revealed that the government’s accreditation of ICT suppliers, contractors and service providers is intended to ensure that the ICT services are implemented.
PS Ochieng’ stressed that the government shall give priority in the awarding of tenders to Kenyan solutions as well as new and innovative and preferentially adopt solutions that are homegrown.
Ochieng’ also recognized President Uhuru Kenyatta for not approving the controversial ICT practitioner’s Bill 2020 saying that the Bill could have prevented young people from making use of their talents.
The Bill intended to establish a legal framework for training, registering and licensing the practices and standards of all ICT professionals.
However, President Uhuru was not fazed and sent the Bill back to Parliament and urged parliament to listen to ICT practitioners’ concerns and consider them.
Parliament passed the Bill last month causing a lot of complaints among ICT personnel with some lobby groups like the ICT Ecosystem Stakeholders (KIES) who petitioned the President not to approve it to become law.
According to ICT professionals, the Bill could render professionals who could not able to meet the proposed requirements jobless and could have negative repercussions. They also claimed that the Bill could prevent young people from joining the Information Technology industry.
The ICT PS implored the firms to be updated and participated in the ICT development both internationally and regionally.
PS Ochieng’ thanked the ICT Authority for assembling the government-accredited ICT suppliers, contractors and counties to network and share invaluable knowledge.
“The Authority has played a great role in accrediting the Government’s ICT suppliers, contractors and by extension this Ministry in furthering the policy and regulation space,” said Ochieng’.
The PS also called on participants to maximize on the information shared during the forum.