NAIROBI, June 13 – The Kenya ICT Board Friday pledged to hit the ground running on the construction of the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Technology Park, after the government Thursday allocated Sh900 million towards the project.
ICT Board CEO Paul Kukubo said they were proposing that the over 5,000 seat-park would be built on a 1,000 acre-piece of land in Athi River and was optimistic that it would be complete in the next two to three years.
“The timeline is ambitious but we (Kenya) cannot afford to wait any longer,” he said.
The elated CEO hailed the Finance Minister Amos Kimunya for the allocation and remarked that it would serve to show that the government was fully committed to putting in place measures that would enable the country realise its objective of becoming an ICT hub.
Asked why the board settled on establishing the park in Athi River, in the outskirts of Nairobi, the CEO explained that the area had available and affordable land, which mostly belonged to the government.
This would eliminate the hassles of having protracted court battles over land, which are common in Kenya, he added.
Kukubo said physical and social amenities such as the back bone fibre optic cable, electricity grids, water and sanitation would be created within the park to attract investors in the area.
Upon completion, the park will ensure the availability of internet service for the public as well as create about 10,000 jobs.
The CEO said the funds allocated to them would be the initial set up costs and hoped that the private sector would come on board and support the project.
“We will probably be looking at the expression of interest from the public to respond to the development of the park by providing ideas on how to do that,” he revealed.
Kukubo said that through their parent Ministry of Information, they would lobby their Treasury counterparts to try and match the incentives offered by countries such as India and Dubai that have established BPO parks.
Such incentives would include tax holidays and tax breaks to attract people to invest in the park.
He added that the setting up of a BPO would not be hampered by the bureaucracy arising from having many licensing requirements.
“An investor only needs to get a license from the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK), which costs Sh10,000,” Kukubo explained.
He disclosed that they were also in consultations with the Kenya Investment Authority to try and reduce the obstacles for people interested in investing in the country.