Safaricom seeks freeze of CCK’s rural tech fund

Safaricom has asked the industry regulator to defer implementation of the Universal Service Fund (USF) until those contributing to the kitty are put on the management board.

Mobile operators, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and broadcasters are expected to   start contributing 0.5 per cent of their gross revenue to the USF — which is aimed at accelerating the provision of ICT services in areas that operators consider unviable.

The fund was created through a legal notice of May 2010 signed by information minister Samuel Poghisio.

The kitty was meant to be managed by the Communication Commission of Kenya with the advice of a universal service advisory council. Safaricom has raised an alert over governance of the fund and lack of the operators’ representatives on the council.

“As an active member of the industry, Safaricom is continuing to engage CCK and other industry stakeholders with a view to deferring the implementation of the USF levy until an acceptable governance structure is in place to administer the fund,” said Safaricom in its Sustainability report released last week.

At 0.5 per cent, Safaricom could have contributed Sh541 million to the kitty that was meant to raised Sh1 billion.

Besides membership, Safaricom also raised issues with the rules guiding operations of the fund.

The Business Daily could not establish those set to be members of the advisory council.

Business Daily Africa

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