The Government Spokesman, Colonel (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna on Thursday said the government was keen on establishing a digital economy which has since grown in stature as a driver of innovation and competitiveness globally.
Oguna said that as a country Kenya had been in the forefront in the growth and development of digital skills needed for digital economy and has positioned digital economy at the heart of the government’s Big Four Agenda.
Making his maiden address since his appointment earlier this month, Col. (Rtd) Oguna stated that digital economy was about a future that has arrived and embracing it is not a choice anymore but an inevitable function of today and future markets.
He outlined the five key pillars of the new economy which he said were digital government, digital business
infrastructure, Innovation driven entrepreneurship and digital skills and values which he said forms part of digital
economy blue print for Africa which President Kenyatta launched in Kigali Rwanda yesterday.
The retired military officer reiterated that ICT infrastructure was the backbone of a digital economy and cited the
Economic Survey Report 2019 which documented that the value of ICT sector expanded by 12 per cent from Sh. 345.6 billion in 2017 to Sh.390.2 billion in 2018.
“Kenyans are already reaping the fruits of a digital economy like the improved access to goods and services, both in public and private,” said Oguna.
He added that job creation has also been realized as well as secured financial transactions.
He lauded the Huduma Namba registration that is ongoing, saying it will go a long way in achieving the government’s goal of a complete digital transformation and noted that the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) aims to ease service delivery for Kenyans seeking government services.
“The cumbersome need for multiple documents to access government services is soon ending. NIIMS will significantly reduce identity theft, and make financial and property transactions more secure. Kenyans has joined a few countries that have done this. In Africa, Kenya remains the pace setter,” stated Oguna.
The Ministry of ICT Principal Secretary, Jerome Ochieng who welcomed Oguna to the ministry, under which all
government communication will now be domiciled, congratulated Oguna for his appointment and lauded the outgoing government spokesman, Eric Kiraithe for a job well done.
Ochieng revealed that Kiraithe had been redeployed to the Ministry of ICT as Principal Administrative Secretary.
“All government communications will now be done from the Ministry of ICT .This will not in any way affect ministries articulating issues of their ministries,” said Jerome.
Kiraithe on his part congratulated Oguna whom he praised as the man best suited for the job due to the latter’s
President Uhuru Kenyatta had given a directive that the office of the Government Spokesperson be moved to the ICT even as the government strives to rebuild its communication structure necessitating the changes therein.
“In line with directions from the Executive Office of the President through the Head of the Public Service, the office of the Government Spokesman shall be domiciled at the ICT Ministry,” the statement by ICT Cabinet Secretary, Joe Mucheru read.
Other areas that Oguna will oversee, include Directorate of Information and all county and sub county information offices, Department of Public Communication, National Government Communication Centre and the Government Media Centre.
He will also have a content oversight role over the government news gathering and dissemination channels, KNA and My Gov.
Oguna has previously held various positions relating to the management of personnel, operations and communications within the Kenya Defense Forces and government.
This change of guard at the helm of government communication comes barely two months after the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) commissioned a Task Force to review the status of Government communication function.
Known for his eloquence and mastery of both English and Swahili languages, Col (Rtd) Oguna served as the KDF spokesperson from 2011 to 2014, a period when the military recorded the highest advances in Somalia.
With KDF known as a highly secretive organization, Col (Rtd) Oguna became the face of the war when he frequented radio and TV stations to paint a picture of what was happening in Somalia, and he is credited for giving the war a human face.
By Alice Gworo