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ICT Ministry lobbying for more funds

Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) is lobbying Parliament for increased budgetary allocation to enable it discharge its mandate more effectively.
Ministry’s top officials led by Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru Wednesday met the Parliamentary Committee on ICT on a two-day retreat to deliberate on the ministry’s budget allocation and plans for the 2018/2019 Financial Year.
During the meeting at Mombasa Continental Resort, Mucheru said, ICT was a key sector that could lead to economic growth and prosperity in the country.
He said “ICT sector plays a crucial role in other sectors such as education, land, agriculture and health among other important sectors of the economy.”
Mucheru added that ICT increases efficiency in service delivery and the government was doing all it could to enhance the digital sector.
“ICT will transform government operations for effective and efficient service delivery in the public sector,” added the cabinet secretary.
On Jubilee government’s Big Four Agenda, Mucheru said ICT will play a central role towards its success.
“Information, Communication and Technology will be the driving force towards achieving the Big Four Plan of food security, affordable housing, universal health care and the manufacturing sector,” he said.
Mucheru who was accompanied by Principal Secretaries Jerome Ochieng (ICT) and Sammy Itemere (Telecommunications and Broadcasting) said with the ever evolving technologies, Kenya must innovate and use ICT as an enabler for public services.
The CS said his ministry was seeking more budgetary provisions for its flagship projects such as Konza Techno City, Presidential Digital Talent Programme, Digital Literacy project and Cyber Security project.
On the Cyber Crime Bill which has now become law, Mucheru said Kenyans should prepare for a better and well regulated “internet regime.”
The Parliamentary ICT committee Chairman William Kisang said his committee will closely lobby for more funds for its budgetary allocation to ensure the delivery of the government digital promise to Kenyans.
“The ministry needs to be adequately funded as it plays an important role in the country’s economic growth,” said Kisang.
Kisang who is the Marakwet West MP said the retreat will assist the ministry to plan appropriately and spend within the budget allocated in order to avoid over and under spending.
He said “the retreat will provide a clear direction on the ministry’s operations and ensure that what will be implemented is what has been planned and budgeted for.”
Kisang noted that the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) was undergoing major reforms including recruitment of a new Managing Director to enhance efficiency and make it more competitive.
“We want to see the public broadcaster generate its own revenue instead of depending on the government support,” he added.
By Mohamed Hassan

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