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ICT PS appeals for funds to accelerate Gov’t communication, digital agenda

The Principal Secretary, the State Department for Broadcasting and Telecommunications Prof. Edward Kisiang’ani

The Principal Secretary, the State Department for Broadcasting and Telecommunications Prof. Edward Kisiang’ani has made an impassioned appeal for increased budgetary allocations by Parliament to accelerate and drive government communications and digital transformation agenda.

Kisiang’ani said injection of more funding will enable the government’s crucial agencies to facilitate the achievement of digitization and digitalization as well as aligning communication of government achievements to the masses.

The PS decried the huge budget deficit of Sh8 billion facing the key state department which he said is delaying the much-needed digital footprint to ease delivery and access of government services as well as linking underserved communities to digital products and services.

Speaking in Naivasha during an engagement session with National Assembly Committee on ICT, the PS appealed to the committee members to re-engineer and overhaul budgetary allocation to the Ministry to hasten the deployment, adoption, and migration to digital technology.

In addition, Prof Kisiang’ani noted that the state department is at the nerve centre of the pathway to the achievement of the Bottom Up Economic Transformation Agenda and therefore should be funded adequately to achieve its targets on time.

Kisiang’ani said more resources will enable the crucial modernization program of key government agencies including Kenya News Agency, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) and Kenya Postal Corporation to turn around their operations and ensure they achieve their mandates including on government communication strategy.

He added that extra funding will enable the completion of stalled projects such as the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication, Eldoret Campus as well as accelerate the Studio Mashinani project that aims to harness the creative potential of the youth across the country.

Prof Kisiang’ani called for the referencing of the communication budget to cushion it from being affected by supplementary budget cuts which hamper the operations and the much-needed modernization programs.

“The Kenya News Agency lost over Ksh 100 million through supplementary budget cuts affecting the modernization of its offices, procurement of modern equipment and streamlining their operations and therefore I call to protect the fund”, Said the PS.

Kisiangani acknowledged the department’s achievements despite the low funding including preparing more than 153 news briefs, 3600 television items, 24 regional online publications, and 16,869 print news items thus far, this year.

The PS at the same time appealed for Sh1billion to facilitate the implementation of the newly approved Ministry Scheme of Service Structure that aims to reorganize, re-engineer, and enhance the efficiency of operations and officers.

To reduce the huge pending bills facing the state department to the tune of Sh1.5 billion, Kisiang’ani said he has initiated payment of bills with priority given to bills accrued in the last two years.

Consequently, he said the Ministry is updating its legal and policy framework to launch the sector to the emerging issues and guide the adoption of new technology including the review of the Kenya Information and Communication Act, Kenya Postal Corporation Act, and National Communication Policy and Strategy among others.

“The review of these acts will help reform the sector, address emerging issues, reignite regulations and efficiency of agencies to achieve their mandates as expected “, said Kisiang’ani.

Committee chair John Kiarie acknowledged the huge budget deficit facing the Ministry noting that the committee will consider priority areas of funding within the current budget ceilings.