, NAIROBI, Kenya, July 30 – Mobile telecommunications service providers have been given until the end of next month to remit their contributions to the Universal Service Fund designed to safeguard and increase Kenya’s telecommunications infrastructure, especially in rural areas.
Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) Director General Francis Wangusi indicated that each company will be expected to contribute 0.5 percent of their total turnover to the fund to top up the Sh2 billion required to make it operational.
While stating that the Authority will contribute half of that amount, Wangusi pointed out that penalties which include the withdrawal of services will be imposed to service providers who will not have met the deadline.
“For example, the annual turnover for Safaricom is over Sh120 billion. 0.5 percent of that is now the money that we expect. They are going to be one of the biggest beneficiaries as well because when we use the same money to deploy services in remote areas where they have not been going by virtue of the fact that it does not make economic sense to them, this is now the time that we will be able to give them economic support,” he said.
Information Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i stated that the fund will be used to support the expansion of communication services to schools and health facilities and support the development of capacity building in ICT and technological innovation.
“We are in a new financial year and we are expecting new contributions. That is why the agencies that are late to make their contributions from the last financial year have 30 days so that we can move on,” he said.
“The delay has been because we also took time to put in place the new Universal Service Advisory Council which we have done and therefore we can now begin making use of the resources.”
Matiang’i was speaking during the unveiling of the universal service advisory council where he explained that the fund is also expected to ensure availability of communication services to persons in vulnerable groups.
The Information Secretary further called on all Kenyans to be responsible in their use of social media and avoid using derogatory language and hate speech.
Matiang’i indicated that while the government is committed to crack down hard on those who misuse social networking tools, he stressed that it is the responsibility of everyone to maintain decorum during their interactions.
“The abuse of social media in our country is phenomenal. If you look at the hate messages that are being passed, it is very frustrating. What Kenyans need to understand is that you cannot legislate morality,” he stated.
He explained that the medium can be a powerful tool and if misused, can wreck havoc on other users.
“Why is it that you cannot raise issues without insulting someone else? Why is it that you have personal issues with individual public leaders and you insult communities… and so on and so forth, these are moral issues and that is why all Kenyans should be concerned about this.”