Telecommunication companies to pay for failure to remit universal fund

NAIROBI, KENYA: Kenyan telecommunication companies risk financial penalty for failing to meet their respective Universal Service Fund (USF) obligations.

The draft USF regulations have incorporated a penalty of 0.2 percent of the Gross Turn Over on all licensees who fail to meet their respective USF obligations.

Francis wangusi, director-general of the communications authority of Kenya says the new regulation will help save time always lost in trying to follow up some of the telecommunication companies to comply in remitting the levy.

“We lost considerable amount of time while sending several demand notes for licensees to comply. However, we do acknowledge the significant progress currently being recorded in remission of this levy. This notwithstanding, the Authority is focused to ensuring access to ICTs by all in Kenya,” he said.

Universal Service Fund (USF) is envisaged to support a multiplicity of services including ICT infrastructure development.  In particular, the Fund seeks to ensure availability of communication services to Persons with Disabilities, women and other vulnerable groups. The Fund is further meant to support capacity building in ICTs and innovations. 

In addition, it seeks to support expansion of communications services to schools, health facilities and other organizations serving public needs. The Fund also aims at facilitating the development of and access to a wide range of local content.

So far Sh 2.94 billion to providing the much needed direction for the ICT sector especially in deployment of broadband infrastructure. 

ICT Authority through its Universal Service Advisory Council says it has set aside Sh1.5 billion for the implementation of Universal Service Fund projects.

“We anticipate embarking on advertising tenders for infrastructure projects worth Shs 1 billion starting September this year. The projects will include voice and broadband coverage in identified access gaps areas. In addition, the Fund will also support Internet connectivity in learning institutions in the country to the tune of Shs 500 million.

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