IMPLEMENTATION OF KENYAN IT PLAN TO COST MORE AND TAKE LONGER

Computing

The implementation of the Kenyan government’s comprehensive strategy ICT strategy will cost Sh3 billion, and is scheduled to be completed in 2010.The implementation of the plan is in the early stages, with the first results expected to be seen by June 30 this year.

Earlier, a tentative plan gave an estimate of Sh2.5 billion budget for the information and communication technology (ICT) initiative that was previously intended to be completed in five years.

The programme document, E-Government Strategy: The Strategic Framework, Administrative Structure, Training Requirements and Standardisation Framework, outlines the most ambitious attempt to introduce ICT in the Kenya government.

Already a directorate of E-government has been created. It is also planned that an E-security department will be created within the directorate complete with a programme and a manual for its operations at a cost of Sh12 million.

The implementation of the security part of the initiative is among the most sensitive of the ICT strategy. It is being handled by the National Security Intelligence Service, the Government Information Technology Services (GITS) and the E-government team itself.

It will involve the setting up of a cyber emergency response team that will rapidly be able to perform trouble shooting functions, as the programme is implemented.

The team that is preparing the E-government initiative includes representatives of GITS, National Communications Secretariat, Kenya Revenue Authority, Cabinet Office, Communications Commission of Kenya, Department of Defence, Central Bank of Kenya, Directorate of Personnel Management, ministries of finance, health, and office of the president. It is led by former Economic secretary, Peter Gakunu.

For the financial year up to June 2004, the Government will have spent Sh145 million. The money will be used to, among other things, develop ICT standards manual at a cost of Sh0.5 million, develop the security manual at Sh0.5 million, create awareness at all government levels at a cost of Sh3.9 million, define the E-government structure through creating, strengthening and mandating a body to oversee the implementation and management of E-government processes at a cost of Sh68.5 million.

The strategy document will be disseminated by printing and circulating it widely at a cost of Sh6.3 million while government representatives are expected to participate at an international conference on ICT to be held in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on May 24-26 at a cost of Sh9.4 million.

Already, local area networks (LANs) have been installed at a cost of Sh147 million in Harambee House, Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Jogoo House ‘B’ and the Ministry of Energy in Nyayo House. The results expected from this are efficiency of information flow and sharing.

In the financial year 2004/5, the Government will spend Sh612.6 million on, among other things, research and development to improve capacity, bring in best practices, skills and methods within government. This will be done by the directorate, GITS and NCS. Already there is an ongoing project to reduce bureaucracy by reviewing processes at a cost of Sh21 million.

A government website (gov.ke) or portal showing services it provides is to be designed for Sh1.6 million. It is unclear why the project is designated as not having started yet it is supposed to be complete by June this year. It is expected to have achieved its aims if it has ease of access, the E-Government Strategy says.

Web-hosting will be done by GITS in the short-term since it has the infrastructure but in the long term it will be a project of the E-Government Directorate set up in the Office of the President.

There is however an ongoing project to put functions of ministries and departments of state on websites.

On the government portal, there will be announcements, alerts and bulletins, available publications, the Kenya Gazette and other legal notices.

Budget statements, the finance Bill, booklets on tariffs and statistical annexes, information on schools, while tender documents will be made available electronically.

In the immediate term there is a plan to train 50 core staffers for the E-government team and ministries staff. In the medium term all civil servants will be trained in the new strategy. For civil servants who have never had access to email within their own ministries this will be the first time they will have access although the process will start with the headquarters of 10 ministries. In the long term to year 2010, all civil servants are expected to be computer-literate with the state having spent Sh158 million in the project.

It will now be possible for those who are seeking employment in the public sector to acquire application forms and remit them online, a development that is intended to make it easy to get the appropriate employees for state functions. The role of developing this part of the E-government has been given to the DPM and Public Service Commission and the ministry of labour.

A process of integrating government records is scheduled to be completed in 2007. It will involve an online system of registration of births and deaths, national identity card registrations, immigration records, registration of assets including land, companies and motor vehicles. This project will be handled by the ministries of finance, transport and communications, attorney general’s office, judiciary and lands and settlement.

The move to keep the records will deal a blow to the motor vehicle theft and land grabbing industries that have thrived in an era of dysfunctional record keeping within government.

Times will also be quite hard for those who had become accustomed to evading tax as clear records will now be available online with a taxation database and information system put in place by 2007. This is a project being undertaken by the Kenya Revenue Authority and the ministry of finance.

The long process of licensing businesses in Kenya has frequently been raised. The E-Government Strategy says that a system will be in place by the year 2007 to speed up the process of licensing through the government portal or web service.

The programme will also make available information on recreation facilities, entertainment, exhibitions, festivals, list of day care facilities, the Kenya National Library Services catalogue, details on the election register as well as legal aid and advice.

It will also see to the implementation of a project to improve security at a cost of Sh252 million. The E-policing project will aim at providing security alerts, traffic alerts and should be in place by 2007. It will also be possible to buy and sell properties in the net through the E-government initiative.

Nation Media