Communications Authority of Kenya set to devolve its functions

President Uhuru Kenyatta (centre) with cabinet secretaries and Communications Authority of Kenya officials arrives for the launch of the CAK at its headquarters on June 24, 2014. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU |

What you need to know:

  • The regulator is now to open four regional offices in Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret and Nyeri to realise its expanded mandate
  • ICT CS Fred Matiang’i said the new entity is a product of legal reforms necessitated by constitutional change

Communications regulator Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) is set to devolve its services, setting up offices at county level.

At a function presided over by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday, the CAK, formerly known as Communications Commission of Kenya, rebranded in line with the Kenya Information and Communication (Amendment) Act 2013, completing the reconstitution of the regulatory body.

The regulator is now to open four regional offices in Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret and Nyeri to realise its expanded mandate. Currently it only has operations at its headquarters in Nairobi. CAK will also employ new staff. Funds have been set aside for construction of offices.

“Our management structure will have to be redesigned, but that does not mean we will lay off staff,” said CAK Director-General Francis Wangusi.

At the launch, President Kenyatta said the change will position ICT as a key driver of the economy as anchored in Vision 2030.

“CAK now has the mandate to create an environment that facilitates universal, affordable and equitable access to ICT,” said Mr Kenyatta.

Information and Communications Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said the new entity is a product of legal reforms necessitated by constitutional changes.

“The new dispensation gives Communications Authority an expanded  mandate that includes setting and enforcing standards for broadcast media, and licensing and enforcing electronic transaction platforms,” Mr Matiang’i stated.

CRITICAL TO DEVELOPMENT

The cabinet secretary emphasised that the two are key areas that CA should focus on as they are critical both to social economic development and enhancement of security.

The authority will use county offices to work towards realising broadband connectivity, besides other services. “We will roll out Universal Service Obligation (USO) projects to address specific gaps in unserved and marginalised parts of the country,” said Mr Wangusi.

The authority has also embarked on implementing its five-year strategic plan that aims to see ICT increase contribution to overall GDP by 5 per cent and mobile telephony penetration to 90 per cent.

This, the regulator says, will see its annual revenue exceed the Sh4 billion realised last year.

“The clear plan also aims at increasing broadband penetration by 10 per cent, Internet uptake to 70 per cent and electronic commerce support in postal and courier services,” explained Mr Wangusi.

He added that the regulator has also set up reforms to guide industry players, which will be released in September.

Mobile telephony operators who do not adhere to SIM registrations will, for instance, be charged a fee not exceeding 0.5 per cent of their annual revenue. Individuals who fail to adhere are also punishable by law.

Through the implementation and operations of Kenya Computer Incident Response Team Co-ordination Centre (KE-CIRT), CAK is also determined to manage cyber security incidents and boost confidence among Internet users.

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