County governments have been urged to embrace enabling policies and legislate laws that will make the expansion of internet infrastructure less costly.
ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru says county governments were the first line facilitators in the government’s quest to expand the country’s internet connectivity and should therefore put in place friendly policies and legislation that would bolster the internet expansion programme.
The CS said the devolved units can contribute towards enabling the country achieve broad internet coverage by firstly waiving the charges that are usually levied on the national government before laying of the requisite backbone cabling that support internet penetration across the country.
Mucheru made the remarks while officiating during the launch of a teleconferencing facility at the Nyeri County Assembly grounds.
The facility, a donation from the Chinese tech giant, Huawei, and sourced through the support of the Ministry of ICT will allow the county assembly to conduct its affairs virtually.
Mucheru said the Covid-19 pandemic had impacted negatively to service delivery in both levels of governments adding that appropriate technology must be deployed to forestall chances of public service grinding to an abrupt halt owing to the effects of the highly infectious respiratory disease.
“We can surmount service delivery challenges wrought about by this pandemic by embracing appropriate technology that will assist us to transact our businesses virtually,” said the CS.
He said the county assembly of Nyeri was the first to go digital and lauded the county government for putting in place requisite legislative framework that had made it easy for the ministry to achieve one of its mandate of expanding internet connectivity in the county.
“It is because of such incentives that the mobile phone giant Safaricom and the Communications Authority of Kenya have set up their Mt. Kenya regional offices in Nyeri town.” Said the CS.
Area governor Mutahi Kahiga said technology was a game changer to the operations of the assembly which were about to be brought to a standstill by Covid-19 as has been witnessed in several counties across the country.
Speaking at the function, the county assembly Speaker John Kaguchia said with the installation of the teleconferencing facility, the assembly will be able to hold its sessions in spite of the Covid-19 containment measures put in place by the Ministry of Health.
“This facility will not only provide a strong platform for the assembly’s deliberations in this Covid-19 era but will also facilitate live feeds of our proceedings to be beamed live to members of the public,” said the speaker.
The assembly also launched Nyota ya Nyeri e-newsletter which will provide a channel for the assembly to disseminate information on its activities to the members of the public.