As part of its efforts to boost the rapid expansion of information sector, the Kenyan government will remove all taxes charged on imported computer parts and accessories in order to increase investment and employment opportunities in the industry, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki announced on Tuesday.
The move will not only make computers affordable to more Kenyans, but it will also lead to increased productivity and employment opportunities through value addition, said the president while officially opening the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Strategy Conference in Nairobi.
He encouraged industry and other potential investors to join hands with the Kenyan government and the Kenyan people to take advantage of the opportunities being created by the new policy thrust.
The Kenyan government will be tabling a new Communications Bill in the next session of Parliament in order to create a framework for a liberalized ICT industry and also to provide a roadmap for the development of ICT in the country over the next five years, Kibaki disclosed.
To accelerate this process, the Kenyan government is to set up a Universal Access Fund under the Communications Commission of Kenya for the establishment of village ICT centers to ensure that people in rural areas are able to access ICT free of charge, he said.
Noting that development of any country is dependent on accessibility to knowledge, information and communications, the Head of State said investment in ICT infrastructure and appropriate human skills are critical in establishing a digital society.
"In pursuing this objective, we realize that digital technology is only a means to an end. The ultimate goal of embracing ICT is to open up opportunities that will facilitate rapid economic development and a secure future for our country," said Kibaki.
"As we undertake these developments, we realize that for this country to be competitive in the world, it must have access to undersea fiber-optic cables. Such access will not only guarantee adequate bandwidth, but it will also reduce costs associated with the use of satellite connectivity," Kibaki said.
He also directed that the government shops for undersea fiber connectivity in the shortest time possible, and at the best price and quality.