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The Information Communication Technology Practitioners Bill, 2020

The National Assembly passed the Information Communication Technology Practitioners Bill, 2020 on 8th June 2022. First introduced in 2016 by the Majority Leader, Aden Duale, the Bill seeks to establish a legal framework for the training, registration, licensing, practice, and standards of the ICT practitioners in Kenya.

Once enacted into law, the ICT Practitioners Bill will impose a number of changes in the ICT sector including:

  • Establishment of the ICT Practitioners Institute: The Bill seeks to establish an institute to be known as the ICT Practitioners Institute which shall be a body corporate governed by a Council.  Membership of the institute would be restricted to persons registered as ICT practitioners under Section 19 of the Bill and would be categorized into fellows, associate members, and such other class as the Council under Section 41 may prescribe.

The functions of the institute would include among others to: 1) educate members of the public on matters incidental to the ICT profession; 2) approve courses and administer examinations as may be necessary to determine whether persons are qualified for registration under the Act; 3) register and license ICT practitioners upon payment of the prescribed fees; and 4) supervise the professional conduct and practice of ICT practitioners and take the necessary disciplinary action in cases of professional misconduct.

  • Registration and Licensing of ICT Practitioners: Section 19 further provides the qualification for registration as an ICT practitioner to include if the person is a holder of at least a bachelor’s degree in an ICT related field or a diploma in an ICT related field with at least 1 year in post qualification experience in an ICT field. All persons who have qualified upon application for membership shall be registered with the Council maintaining a register of the ICT practitioners. A person shall not practice as an ICT practitioner unless the person has qualified and has been issued with a valid practicing certificate.
  • Implications: Given the stringent entry requirements including a bachelor’s degree or a diploma with 1-year post qualification experience, most practitioners will be barred from practicing unless with a partner who is registered as an ICT practitioner and has a valid annual license. The Bill further proposes that a person will not be entitled to recover a fee for ICT services unless the person is licensed under the Act. Noting that professional qualifications in ICT are offered by various examinational bodies both nationally and globally such as the Certified Information Technologists and Certified Information Systems Solutions Expert (CISSE) offered by KASNEB, the qualifications will bar many people from practicing as ICT practitioners.
  • Enforcement of the Bill:  The Bill proposes for enforcement provisions that any person who procures registration or licensing by false pretense shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable for a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand Kenya Shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or both. It also provides for professional misconduct, disciplinary proceedings by the Council against an errant practitioner, removal, suspension or cancellation of a member and the effect thereof and the various offences relating to different matters in the Bill.

The Bill seeks to regulate the ICT sector and increase the quality and professionalism of individuals by requiring all ICT practitioners who have met the qualifications to be licensed by a state body and issued with an annual practicing certificate. If passed, the Bill will have an implication on SMEs and practitioners who will have to be registered and licensed to be entitled to recover fees for ICT services in case of a dispute.

 

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