According to a report by The Daily Nation, Kenya’s telecommunication companies allegedly want the industry regulator to set up an audit for the Universal Service Fund and update them on its status.
Through the Telecommunications Service Providers of Kenya (Tespok) umbrella organisation, the companies said they contributed KES 3.4 billion towards the fund, over the Communications Authority of Kenya target of KES 2.5 billion. The money has, according to the report, not been put to use and some of the contentious issues they had raised with the Kenyan Communications Authority (CA) are yet to be addressed.
The report reveals that Tespok CEO Fiona Asonga said the companies started contributing 0.5 percent of their revenue in July 2014, but that the funds are currently being exclusively administered by government officials, namely the CA and the Universal Service Advisory Council, which the operators want to be reconstituted to accommodate them. CA Director-General Francis Wangusi said the regulator was working on procedures that would enable the operators to be involved.
Operators have also demanded to be part of the fund’s management and get a constant report on the money’s usage. They argued that the last access gap study is several years old and will be misleading in facilitating ICT access to underserved areas. Safaricom, Airtel, Nation Media Group and Posta, among other operators remitted 0.5 per cent of their gross revenue to the fund.
The report also revealed that the CA had come up with a framework to help in using the money. However, industry stakeholders rejected it, saying it was based on a 2011 study whose findings were outdated.
“We have established a governance and operational framework, which we will share soon. It focuses on key aspects and principles that guide the authority in its mandate over USF and its relationship with the Universal Service Advisory Council members,” said CA in a statement.