Why Kenya’s ICT Practitioners Bill is a Rotten Fruit

Recent days have seen a major uproar on the internet. Many people have gone out to vent and criticize the government for moving closer to passing the controversial ICT Practitioners Bill. According to KICTRANet, an organization committed to opening up policy making in the ICT sector, the Bill would establish a legal framework for the training, registration, licensing, and practice of Information Communication Technology (ICT) professionals in Kenya.

In a public message to raise awareness, KICTRANet sighted reasons as to why they are opposed to the ICT Bill. We encourage you to put your nose through this one. 

Briefly;

These are some of the major concerns;

Redundancy, the Key to Innovation Tragedy

This Bill will not solve any identified problems. It will create more problems in our society, with the most critical factor being the risk of loss of employment for the youth and the stifling of innovation that will result if this proposed form of regulation is enforced. 

The organization believes that the legislators have failed to show the need for the Bill or what problems it will solve. The ills that the Bill wants to cure are adequately covered by an existing legal framework in the case of practitioner malpractice.

The Bill does not interface with government policies regarding economic development, which include advancing technology and communications so that Kenya can lead the world in telecommunication. The country’s main objective is to grow its contribution of ICT to the economy to 10% by 2030 so that it can become a more robust economy and provide secure income and livelihoods for its citizens.

“In politics, absurdity is not a handicap” – Napoleon Bonaparte

The ICT Practitioners Bill was written and sponsored by a single person without the relevant input of other stakeholders in the industry. As such, the Bill does not represent the views of these stakeholders working in the ICT sector. This goes against Kenya’s 2010 Constitution, which requires public participation in lawmaking. 

The Black Hole of Legislative Research

The drafters of the Bill did not understand the scope of their sector and did not identify key issues affecting stakeholders or their views on solutions to those problems. For example, it is impossible to determine whether one qualifies as an ICT practitioner by administering a standardized test as the ICT sector is broad and ever-changing. One more thing, the Bill defines practicing information and communication technology (ICT) in such a broad scope that it covers the entire population, leaving the majority of Kenyans to be classified as ICT Practitioners.

A kick in the nuts to innovation

Innovation is the driving sector of the economy, from the standpoint of a developing country, anything that aims to curb creativity is a retarding force.

The ICT Practitioners Bill requires that innovators register with an authority before they can innovate, and consequently earn from their labor. This is a good way to stifle innovation and retard economic growth. Instead, innovators need stronger Intellectual Property laws, access to credit, less regulation, and incentives from the government.

Read the full Memo here.

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