Ministry of Information, Communications and The Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary Mr. Eliud Owalo has re-affirmed the Government’s commitment to digitize over 5,000 Government services starting July this year in a bid to increase digital uptake in the country.
To this end, the CS said the ministry has uploaded 350 services on the E-citizen platform which is now fully owned by the Government in the last three months, and with a capacity of digitizing 300 services per week.
He called upon the Senate to streamline the legal framework to ensure successful implementation of digitization programme in the country by anchoring it in law in order to seal any legal loopholes.
The CS was speaking during an induction workshop for the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Information Communications Technology (ICT) in Naivasha on Wednesday.
Owalo also said the government is on course in rolling out digital identity for Kenyans and is currently undertaking a benchmark with best practice countries including Estonia, Pakistan and India.
He was categorical that the digital identity is not similar to the Huduma Number previously rolled out by the last Government. He said in its quest for digitization, the Government had consulted with various stakeholders and will enter into Private Public Partnership in some of the digitization aspects.
Consequently, Owalo said his ministry had tabled a cabinet memo which will see a digitization fund set up by July that will authorize the Government to borrow Sh500 billion through its Moonshot programme.
“All this digitization is meant to help raise revenue which will in turn help to grow the economy,” Owalo said, noting that this will go a long way in helping in the ease of identification of Kenyans when seeking services and the in the process of taxation.
In its digitization programme, the Government is also looking at the possibility of rolling out 25,000 free WiFi and hot spots and 1,450 digital hubs in villages and other places in order to help people at the bottom of the digital economy to be able to access a stable affordable internet.
In order to achieve the targeted digital super high way, the government is set to enter into a public private partnership that will see the government undertake 52 per cent and the private sector 48 per cent of the project.
The move, according to the CS is to ensure reliable internet access and connectivity to nurture digital skills among the youth to boost digital entrepreneurship and e-commerce where Kenya will in near future be able to manufacture its own cheap smart mobile phones, possibly by July this year.
Owalo also rooted for the Konza tech city in Machakos saying it was the next big thing that will make Kenya a digital hub in the region and announced that Konza will host an international scientific conference next year.
ICT and Digital Economy Principal Secretary Engineer John Tanui on his part reiterated that the Government will digitize and revamp the Kenya Posts, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) and Kenya News Agency (KNA) so that they can offer better services to Kenyans.
By Mabel Keya – Shikuku