Eliud Owalo

Kenya’s tech industry is facing a familiar foe – a revamped version of the controversial ICT Practitioners Bill. Reborn as the ICT Authority Bill 2024, the legislation aims to regulate the industry through the licensing and registration of ICT companies and professionals.

This isn’t the bill’s first rodeo. The original 2016 iteration sparked industry-wide criticism. Critics argued it duplicated existing laws and stifled talent by mandating university degrees. It ultimately failed to gain presidential approval.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo’s reintroduced bill seeks accreditation for companies offering ICT services. This accreditation process hinges on meeting undefined “minimum technical qualifications” and possessing “necessary resources” – all determined by a newly established ICT ministry authority. The bill also mentions fees, similar to the previous version, though specific costs remain unknown.

Despite revisions, the ICT Authority Bill carries unresolved baggage. Two key points remain nebulous: the definition of “ICT services” and the “minimum technical qualifications” demanded. This lack of clarity echoes concerns raised during the bill’s past iterations.

The bill outlines the authority’s power to revoke service provider certificates under certain conditions. While outlining consequences for non-compliance is necessary, the specter of the original bill’s harsh penalties (fines and jail terms) lingers.

“The Authority may assign categories of accreditation as the Authority may determine whether an applicant shall be a holder of the minimum technical qualifications and skills prescribed by the Authority for the class of contract works in respect of which registration is sought.” 

The ICT Authority Bill’s re-emergence suggests a bumpy road ahead. Unanswered questions and the specter of past controversies are bound to spark debate. With Kenyan tech professionals valuing experience over degrees, the battle lines are drawn for a potential war over-regulation in the nation’s ICT sector.

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Nigel Jr.
As a tech enthusiast and expert, Nigel Jr. is dedicated to providing in-depth and insightful content on all things technology. With a background in online journalism, product reviewing, and tech creation, Nigel has become a trusted source for all things tech.

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