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Highlights of Kenya’s proposed National Addressing Law and Policy

The National Communications Secretariat is currently collecting views on the draft National Addressing Policy and the draft National Addressing Bill, 2021. These two instruments will enable the creation of a National Addressing Framework. This is a framework that will provide for the naming, numbering and allocation of addresses for addressable objects such as streets and properties. The Framework will also provide a standardized and easily verifiable naming and addressing information and will promote the uptake of e-Commerce and improve service delivery.

The Couriers Industry Association (CIAK) reports that the lack of a unified addressing system translates to delays in delivery due to time used in tracing locations, and costs for mobile calls as they seek directions from both senders and recipients of goods. CIAK reports indicate that of all mis-deliveries 17% are as a result of the wrong addresses on the label; 58% are delayed pending further information from sender/recipient and 25% are not delivered at all.

Rationale for National Addressing System Framework

A National Addressing Framework is important as it creates a user-friendly environment that facilitates movement and locating places. It is also essential in the facilitation of socio-economic development particularly in e-commerce and public service delivery.

  1. National addressing for Public Service

These include emergency and public safety services such as fire, ambulance, and police. The efficiency of these services is measured by how quickly they can be offered when and where needed.

  1. National Addressing System to Support E-Commerce

To support e-commerce, an effective national addressing system ensures that effective delivery of mail, goods, parcel, courier and taxi services is possible. Without a physical address, individuals who desire to receive mail and packages would rely on post office boxes to receive them.

  1. National Addressing to Support Services

An address is also used for a wide range of private and public services such as planning and utility services such as telecommunications, electricity, water and sewerage. Furthermore, without a standard address system by which an individual can be identified, accessing credit becomes a challenge particularly for individuals simply because a person’s identity cannot be easily verified.

  1.     National Addressing for Social Cultural Activities

Businesses in the hospitality sector, such as hotels, guest houses and holiday destinations, need a reliable form of street addresses to help customers access these locations. It can be time-consuming and frustrating looking for a building or the location for any of these activities.

  1.     National Addressing and Regional Integration

An addressing system will provide a single source of truth for all addresses in Kenya and boost digital business, digital government and, in general, Kenya’s digital transformation as envisioned in Kenya’s Digital Economy Blueprint.

  1.     A Localized National Addressing for Kenya

A national addressing system framework will set in place standards, a conceptual framework that considers local context, culture, traditions and public engagement in its execution. In addition, it will provide for an authoritative and immutable addressing digital registry that will have multiple user cases for individuals, businesses, and government.

The development of a national addressing framework in Kenya will therefore assist in the following ways:

(i) Identification: An addressing system is used by town authorities as a tool for the identification of individual residents.

(ii)  Digital Economy and Service Delivery: An addressing system will support the growth of a vibrant e-commerce industry. A national addressing framework is the key to e-commerce, e-trade, e-government, digital financial services, e-navigation, and modernization of postal services.

(iii) Planning: Information on location of the land allows planning to proceed in a more coordinated manner as planners have knowledge which enables them draw up relevant plans for the area. In addition, information on the population residing in different areas of the town and its characteristics can be known and appropriate measures taken to address issues concerning the population.

(iv) Revenue Collection: A national addressing framework is a useful tool for revenue mobilization and debt collection. Without a clear system of addressing, individuals, companies and property cannot be identified and taxed appropriately.

The draft National Addressing Policy

This Policy will provide the foundation for developing a legal, institutional, and regulatory framework for National Addressing in Kenya. The policy recommends the development and adoption of a National Addressing framework, inclusive of standards, and a National Addressing System of Kenya(NASK) that will be the foundation for the NASK roll-out in Kenya. The policy calls for the establishment of a scalable, resilient, immutable, and secure National Addressing System, whose custodian will be the Office of the Registrar of Addresses(ORA). The Policy further calls for a collaborative framework between various agencies in both the national and county governments. The successful implementation of National Addressing Framework will rely heavily on collaboration between all relevant stakeholders at the national level and the 47county governments.  This policy sets the stage for developing a vital asset in Kenya that will  be  utilized  by  both  the  public  and  private  sectors,  enhancing  trade  and inclusivity in service delivery and contributing positively to the country’s GDP.

The policy applies to all streets, properties, and all addressable objects in Kenya. It has been developed for adoption by the National and County governments and any other entity that hold address data.

Highlights of the National Addressing Bill, 2021

The main objective of the law will be to provide a legal framework for establishment and implementation of a cohesive and integrated National Addressing Framework in Kenya.

Other objectives of the Act shall include:

  • Establishing and maintaining a comprehensive and reliable National Addressing Framework;
  • Creating and managing a National Addressing System;
  • Helping individuals secure a legal identity through addressing;
  • Developing uniform standards for addressing for both levels of governments;
  • Establishing a framework for standardizing the acquisition, processing, analysis, storage and dissemination of address data required to sustain and enhance national development;
  • Facilitating the creation and location of addresses for easy identification of places;
  • Facilitating e-commerce;
  • Promoting for better planning and provision of essential services like water or electricity, other services such as financial, commercial, telecommunications, postal, direct marketing Promoting provision of public services

Definitions

Address means structured information that provides a clear and simple determination of an object for purposes of identification and location;

Addressing means the naming and numbering of addressable objects for purposes of allocating addresses

Address data means any data required by the national addressing system including land parcels boundary, parcel numbers, registration sections, registration dates, retirement dates, road centre-lines, road classes, road identification, road names, county boundaries, national boundary, ward boundaries, constituency boundaries, buildings, building units, building complexes, street names, geographical names and aerial imagery;

Addressable object means a street, property or any object that can be assigned an address

National Addressing Framework means the National Addressing Framework

National Addressing System means the system created and maintained by the Office of the Registrar of Addresses

Scope.

The law shall apply to:

  •       The addressing of addressable objects at the national and county governments.
  •       Any person dealing with matters relating to addressing or custodians of address data in Kenya.
  •       Public and private addressable objects.

 Establishment of the National Addressing Council

  • The Bill proposes the establishment of a National Addressing Council which will consist of:
  • the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry for the time being responsible for addressing who shall be the Chairperson of the Council;
  • the Chairperson of the Council of Governors who shall be the Co-Chairperson;
  • the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Lands;
  • the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury;
  • the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Transport;
  • the Cabinet Secretary responsible for Security;
  • the chairperson the National Land Commission;
  • the Attorney General; and
  • the Registrar who shall be the secretary to the Council and an ex-officio member of the Council.

The functions of the Council shall be:

  • To advice and make recommendations to both levels of government on matters relating to addressing;
  • To provide strategic direction on all matters relating to addressing;
  • To facilitate alternative dispute resolution mechanisms for matters referred to it by the Office of the Registrar;
  • To receive, consider and make decisions based on the reports and recommendations of the Registrar and the County Committee

Office of the Registrar of Addresses.

The bill also proposes the establishment of the Office of the Registrar of Addresses which shall be an office within the Public Service. The Registrar shall be appointed by the Cabinet Secretary and shall be the head of the Office.

Functions of the Office of the Registrar be:

  • To oversee the implementation of and be responsible for the enforcement of this Act
  • To establish, manage, maintain and act as custodian of the National Addressing System
  • To coordinate use of shared infrastructure at both national and county levels for the purposes of proper implementation of the law and implementation of a robust and secure National Addressing System
  • To facilitate alternative dispute resolution mechanisms on disputes arising under the draft law
  • To coordinate with national and county governments to ensure that all addressable objects in Kenya can be identified by an address
  • To provide advisory services on matters related to the addressing to the national and county governments
  • To develop and implement guidelines and standards for Addressing in Kenya;
  • To monitor the implementation of standards for Addressing at national and county government levels
  • To coordinate with county governments to input address data into the National Addressing System
  • To collect and store address data from national and county governments for the purpose of maintaining an accurate and complete National Addressing System
  • To manage access to National Addressing System;
  • To enforce compliance with addressing
  • To recommend to the Cabinet Secretary to Gazette any reasonable fees as may be deemed necessary for the proper administration of the draft law

THE NATIONAL ADDRESSING FRAMEWORK

This shall consist of the National Addressing System and any other information, technology, specifications, policies, standards, methodology, procedures, guidelines developed or controlled by the Office of the Registrar for purposes of addressing.

The National Addressing Framework shall operate as the single authoritative source of information on addresses and addressing in Kenya. If the Office of the Registrar shares information, including address data with any other agency or person, that agency or person will be subject to the provisions of the draft law relating to protection of address data information.

COUNTY ADDRESSING COORDINATION COMMITTEE

Each county government shall, establish a County Addressing Co-ordination Committee comprising:

  • A representative of the county executive committee member responsible for planning, who shall be the chairperson;
  • A representative of the Cabinet Secretary responsible for information technology, who shall be the co-chairperson;
  • A representative of the county executive committee member responsible for finance;
  • A representative of the Cabinet Secretary responsible for survey;
  • A representative of the Cabinet Secretary responsible for interior;
  • A representative of the Cabinet Secretary responsible for lands;
  • A representative of the county executive committee member responsible for transport;
  • The county Attorney.

The County Committees may establish such a number of subcommittees as may be necessary to assist in the performance of its functions.

 OFFENCES AND PENALTIES

The National Addressing System is designated as a critical information infrastructure and protected computer system within the meaning of section 20 (2) of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act.

Offences by bodies corporate or their employees.

The Bill proposes that when an offence is committed by a body corporate, the body corporate and every Secretary or officer of the body corporate who had knowledge or ought to have known of the commission of the offence and who did not exercise due diligence and efficiency to ensure compliance with the law commits an offence and will be personally liable for an offence, whether committed by them on their own account or as an agent of the body corporate.

General penalties.

The Bill proposes that any person who will be found guilty of an offence shall be liable to:

(a)   in the case of a body corporate, a fine not exceeding Ksh. 500,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to both such fine and imprisonment;

(b)  in the case of an individual, a fine not exceeding Ksh. 100,000 to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

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