The Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs is lobbying the National Assembly for increased budgetary allocation for it to discharge its mandate effectively.
The Ministry’s top officials including Heads of Parastatals and Semi-Autonomous Government Agencies (SAGA) on Monday met the Parliamentary Committee on Communication, Information and Innovation on a three-day retreat to deliberate on the Ministry’s budget estimates for the financial year 2021/2022.
During the meeting at the Sarova Whitesands Beach Hotel in Mombasa, the Committee Chairman, William Kisang, acknowledged that the ICT Ministry was playing a crucial role in various sectors of the economy in the Country.
Kisang said the Ministry needs to be adequately funded to help in the country’s economic growth and also to improve government services through enhancement of technology.
Kisang singled out the National Optic Fibre Backbone (NOFB) project, which has improved communication through connectivity in all the 47 counties.
He noted that with the ever-evolving technologies, Kenya must innovate and use ICT as an enabler for public service, saying the sector proved critical during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Through the technology our schools managed to continue with online learning and also businesses were conducted through digital platforms,” added Kisang.
The Chairman said through the improvement of the digital platforms, the government services have significantly improved and also transformed operations in public offices.
He said the ICT Ministry was key to the realisation of the ‘Big Four Agenda’ on food security, affordable housing, and universal health care and manufacturing.
Kisang advised the Ministry to move some of its departments, SAGA and Parastatals to Konza Smart City, so as to save huge financial resources that were being spent on rent in commercial buildings.
Among the top Ministry officials who were present included State Department of ICT and Innovation, Jerome Ochieng, his counterpart in the State Department for Broadcasting and Telecommunication, Esther Koimett
Others were KBC Managing Director, Naim Bilal, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kenya Film Classification Board, Ezekiel Mutua and Government Spokesperson Col (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna.
By Mohamed Hassan