County governments urged to reduce ICT infrastructure fees
By KENAN MIRUKA
| September 15th 2013
BY KENAN MIRUKA
County governments have been urged to provide incentives to support the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as a driver of growth.
Cabinet Secretary for ICT Fred Matiangi says it is necessary for county governments to give tax rebates and other incentives in order for the private sector to invest in establishing requisite infrastructure at the grassroots.
Speaking at St. Vincent Pastoral Centre in Kisii County where he graced the release of the local Catholic Diocesan joint mock examination, Dr Matiangi lamented that some counties were levying exorbitant way leave fees for the fibre optic cables discouraging investors.
“ICT is the future and the trend world over is that the private sector is encouraged to develop the infrastructure because government does not have adequate resources. However, some counties in Kenya are levying crazy fees of up to Sh 600 per metre of fibre optic cable. We can’t develop with such attitudes,” he warned.
He said so far, 35,000 kilometres of fibre optic cable has been laid in the country facilitating access to broadband to millions of Kenyans adding that plans were underway to scale this up.
“Counties can put together incentives including waiving way leave fees for like 24 months on condition that the cabling terminates in public institutions like hospitals and schools. Using this broadband, counties can establish ‘Huduma centres’ where wananchi can access services,” he added.
He said the Government will use the Universal Service Fund to provide mobile phone services in far flung areas where private investors find it commercially unviable to provide the service.
Matiangi also called on school heads to embrace ICT in learning institutions saying the future was ‘wall-less classrooms’ where lessons can be streamed live across various schools.
“The Laptop project to schools is unstoppable and through it, we shall connect 1.5 million households to the national grid. KIE has digitised its curriculum and so publishers should come to terms with this new reality,” he added.
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