ICT Practitioners Bill in Kenya causes outrage
Kenyan based Information and Communication Technology (ICT) practitioners have raised concerns over the ICT Practitioners Bill set to be implemented in 2021, saying that it stifles innovation.
The proposed Bill, which was published in the government gazette in late November this year, seeks to establish an ICT Practitioners Institute which will provide training, registration, licensing, and standards of ICT practitioners in the east African nation.
Through the proposed ICT Practitioners Institute, ICT practitioners will be issued annual licenses at a fee.
ICT Practitioners have expressed their concerns on social media, as well as through an online petition titled Killing the ICT Practitioner Bill spearheaded by the one Andrew Alston to Kenyan cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Information Joseph Mucheru.
“[The Bill will] damage the ICT industry in Kenya, and make the country a far less welcoming place for those in the industry to participate,” reads part of the petition.
“The Bill does this by forcing the licensing of every individual deemed to be an ‘ICT practitioner’ while defining such in manners broad enough to cover 80% of the human population.”
This is not the first time that the ICT Practitioners Bill has appeared in Kenya. It was first introduced in 2016, but it was heavily criticised by the ICT community in Kenya forcing Mucheru to dismiss it on the basis that it was duplicating regulations that were already in place.
In 2018 the ICT Practitioners BIll re-appeared but it did not see another light of the day. In 2020, it has been re-introduced again in another version, but ICT experts in Kenya believe there are not many changes from the previous iterations and it should be set aside.