Company information

Skills shortage remains a problem for Kenyan IT companies

A lack of skilled workers in the information technology (IT) sector is forcing Kenyan software firms to outsource work internationally or to train fresh graduates, which adds to operating costs, says Sailesh Savani, CEO of CompuLynx.

Sailesh Savani

Sailesh Savani

He encouraged the government to extend subsidies to firms creating long-term employment opportunities and nurturing IT skills. According to Savani, it can take up to 12 months to train graduates to become productive.

CompuLynx provides software solutions to companies such as Nakumatt, Barclays Bank of Kenya, Equity Bank and Premier Foods. The firm also exports software to other countries in Africa.

Savani called for the introduction of tax rebates for IT firms involved in the export of software products. “Exports of software products are boosting the firm’s revenues and earning the country . . . much needed foreign exchange. However, these earnings still attract the same amount of corporate tax,” he explained.

He also urged the government to scrap value-added tax (VAT) on IT products. “We want these rates be made zero rated, which in turn will make IT products more affordable for all strata of society.”

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  • KD

    Kenya perhaps is the most endowed African countries as far as I.T skills is concerned. Being a professional with a fairly long experience in I.T related issues, I can confidently attest to that. Nonetheless, the only reason why the CEO of compulynx would intimate that they need to look oversee for competent I.T professionals, it is subjective and personal decision by the management of that company. They probably are very negatively biased towards homegrown professional, or are not willing to match remuneration with skill, thus they always fall short of getting the best professionals. Very many established international I.T (read, google, MS, Cisco, IBM) companies are setting base in Kenya because of the pool of highly skillful and experienced I.T professionals and this only goes to affirm that Kenya has what it takes when it comes to ICT professionals. So, Mr. Savani, should re-evaluate their head hunting procedures because they incurring unnecessary overheads by paying extravagant charges to oversees I.T professionals.

  • VV

    12 months is in fact very short. A young graduate no matter how talented really becomes productive only after 5 years. Being talented with an I.T. tool is not enough. In order to become productive one must understand the business process and user interaction with the system. This takes time.

  • rae

    Kenya has a significant population -young fresh minds- with signficant IT skills however we have people like Sailesh who perhaps do not want to pay sufficiently.

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