Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Kenyan Government Launches E-service

The Kenyan government on Friday launched new electronic service to track service delivery of all public institutions.
The project known as "e-service" allows one to query the issuance of Identity Cards (ID) and passports by sending a short message service (SMS) to the tracking number 2031 or 2032. From the SMS, Kenyans will know what is needed to apply and also track the processing of the documents.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga said that government was embracing technology in governance as a way of improving service delivery to Kenyans as well as create efficiency in all government institutions.
"It is a project that will enable the public to access key government services through mobile telephones. It will allow the public to ask questions and obtain real time feedback regarding requirements, cost and status of processing of provision of the most frequently demanded services," he said.

The new service which will cost five shillings (about 6 U.S. cents) also enable users to raise complaints over delays in issuance of national IDs and passports.
Odinga said by sending a SMS to 2031 and 2032, mobile phone users would be able to report complaints to the immigration ministry and the publics service reforms ministry after which they would get immediate feedback.
"If you are applying for an ID card, there is a number of days that they have said it will take for you to get it. If it takes longer, you have a right to complain and you can ask a question through 2031 and 2032," he said.
He urged the public to utilize the new service to help them save time and also cut down transport costs.

The PM said that it was uneconomical and unhelpful for members of the public to keep travelling from all corners of the country to track progress of essential documents in Nairobi.
"This service is therefore particularly beneficial to Kenyans living up-country or far from central service points," said Odinga.
He noted that this e-Government initiative would in the near future be extended to cover other critical services such as pensions and land title deeds.
The PM said the government was outsourcing other electronic initiatives to help include the 16 institutions which had their service delivery charters rolled out last August included in the E- service project.
He pointed out that the National Registration Bureau and Immigration departments had already developed their E-services urging other government institutions to follow suit.

Odinga said E-Service was a New Year gift to Kenyans to ensure quality services are offered in line with international practices.
The service coordinated by the Public Sector Reforms and Performance Contracting at the Prime Minister's Office and spearheaded by the ministry of information and communication is in line with the Vision 2030 to improve service delivery.
Through the e-Government office, the ongoing projects include upgrading the court registry and library management system that creates national repository of cases.
But analysts say one obstacle to the implementation of such services is the norm by government departments treating a lot of information it generates with a lot of secrecy.
The classification of information as secret and confidential has created legal obstruction to the flow of information and as a result people cannot get open access to the information they require.



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