The telecommunication companies operating in Kenya are now required to split businesses into sub-categories according to a new bill. The Kenya Information and Communications Amendment Bill 2019 will be presented for the Parliament to pass into law.
The Bill seeks to charge mobile companies with multiple businesses to separate all added value services operated outside their telecommunication services. They will also have to apply for regulatory licenses from the bodies supervising any other business they render.
This Bill follows the Parliament’s effort to split Safaricom’s telecommunication services from its mobile money, M-Pesa. Safaricom, earlier this year, initiated Fuliza, another service for overnight lending. Fuliza transferred Sh6 billion in the first few weeks of operation. Other telecoms like Airtel and Telkom operating in Kenya will also have to split operations. The telecoms will have to separate financial statements for each business unit.
Should members of the Parliament pass the Bill, Telkom and Airtel Kenya which plans to merge will have to close down all other business operations outside telecommunication services. Any business which flaunts the proposed regulations by failing to obtain licenses for each unit will be fined Sh10 million or 2 years jail term.
Mr Elisha Odhiambo, who filed the Bill stated in the objectives that the amendment will further control anti-competitive practices by large telecommunication companies. According to Elisha, the Bill will guarantee quality services at affordable rates for all consumers. The Communications Commission of Kenya will be tasked with communicating telecoms compliance levels over time, once the Bill is signed into power.
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