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.”