Aldai Member of Parliament Maryann Kitany has reiterated government commitment of digitization and automation of government processes in line with the Kenya Digital Master Plan (2022-2030), the blueprint for leveraging and deepening the contribution of information and communications technology (ICT) to accelerate the country’s economic growth.
Speaking on Thursday while moving notice of motion on development of measures to mitigate digital exclusion, Kitany the former chief of staff in then office of Deputy President William Ruto noted that the current administration seeks to consolidate the industrial, academic institutions and other innovators to co-invest in emerging technologies to create high-quality jobs.
“The Government intends to increase internet broadband connectivity across the country through construction of 100,000 km of national fiber optic connectivity network; concerned that, as the country rapidly digitizes services and processes, the high costs of data, internet services as well as purchase of internet-enabled digital devices may lead to digital exclusion of a majority of Kenyans; recognizing that, there is need to bridge the existing gap in JCT to ensure inclusivity in access to internet make Kenya a regional JCT hub while keeping pace with shifting technological changes” she said.
The Information Technology Expert serving her first term following August General Elections revealed that the motion aims to leverage on artificial intelligence, robotics and other technologies.
“The Government’s plan for a digital superhighway may not be realized without deliberate interventions to lower data costs; now therefore, this House resolves that, the Government, through the Ministry of Information, Communication and the Digital Economy formulates a policy to regulate internet billing by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) by providing for metered billing of internet use based on consumption in order to mitigate exploitation and secure economic interests of internet users in line with Article 46 of the Constitution” added part of her statement
This development comes at the backdrop of President William Ruto’s announcement during Mashujaa Day Celebrations last year that the government will ease access to its services by bringing up to 80 per cent of services offered online to enhance efficiency and delivery.
Kenya Kwanza administration campaigned on a platform of putting more efforts on investing in the digital space and creative economy by ensuring the roll-out of universal broadband to enhance connectivity throughout the country.
“Government services shall be made available throughout the country at greater convenience to citizens through digitization and automation of all critical government processes, with a view to bringing at least 80 per cent of all government services online,” he stated.
“Over the next 5 years, the government will ensure universal broadband availability through the roll-out of connectivity throughout the country. The laying out of an additional 100,000km of the national fibre-optic network is expected to deliver this target,” added the Head of State
According to IT specialists,for Kenya to realise the maximum potential of the Digital Superhighway, there must be clear data management plan that is promotive of current agenda for the digital economy through partnerships with stakeholders to expand the space for creativity and innovation.
According to ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo,the ongoing digitisation of government services is aimed at eliminating graft besides making services more efficient.
So far,the ruling regime has digitised 5,084 government services in an aggressive bid to move to the digital economy.
Owalo said the government is keen on reducing the cost of data and providing free WIFI in markets and bus terminals to support mothers and youths so that they can be involved in meaningful economic activities.