Safaricom seeks to defer USF introduction after management qualms

13 Sep 2012

According to Business Daily Africa, Kenyan mobile giant Safaricom has petitioned the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) with a view to deferring the implementation of the country’s Universal Service Fund (USF) until those parties contributing to the kitty are given seats on the management board. The USF, which was created through a legal notice dated May 2010 and signed by information minister Samuel Poghisio, requires mobile operators and internet service providers (ISPs) to contribute 0.5% of their gross revenues, with a view to boosting the deployment of ICT services in areas otherwise considered economically unviable. As things stand, the USF is expected to be managed by the industry regulator CCK, but Safaricom has voiced concerns over its lack of representation. In a sustainability report issued last week, the telco wrote: ‘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’. Based on 2011 data, at 0.5% Safaricom would have contributed KES541 million (USD6.3 million) out of a projected KES1 billion, underlining its influence on the sector.