Kenya's Information and Communication Technology sector is seeking a special status to enable it attract more investors.Last week, Information minister Raphael Tuju said only such a status could improve the regulatory environment in the industry. "We want to have something similar to that EPZ, so as to expedite the licensing and registration processes," said Tuju.

He said the move was driven by the need to reduce bureacreacy and other bottlenecks that continue to limit investment into the ICT sector. The Minister, however, indicated that the initiative would be driven by the private sector as the Government lacked the capacity to undertake such a task.He said discussions were underway with a number of private firms that have expressed interest in the project.

Investors within the Export Processing Zones are entitled to special incentives including tax holidays, duty free acquisition of inputs and speedy registration of firms.

Tuju proposed the creation of ICT Parks that will give investors in the telecommunications sub-sector direct access to the outside world in order to reduce current dependency on state-owned Telkom Kenya.

He was speaking in Nairobi after he officially opened a workshop on Universal Access to ICTs. The one-day consultative workshop marked the third and final phase of the univesal access study process that began in December 2003.The consultations aim to develop strategies that will give a larger fraction of the Kenyan population access ICT.

East African Standard