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Mombasa residents want decentralization of Government Press

Mombasa residents are calling for decentralization of the Government Press services, either to the previous provincial headquarters or counties, for efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery.

The Presidential taskforce on the modernization and transformation of the Government Press into an efficient and highly performance-viable entity held a public participation exercise Thursday to collect views from Mombasa residents at the Mama Ngina Water Front hall.

According to the Taskforce policy framework, the government is keen to modernise and transform the Government Press to transcend its traditional boundaries and embrace the future by strengthening its role as the printer and publisher of choice for the Government and embracing the commercial opportunities available for it to exploit and create value for the people of Kenya.

Implementation of the framework estimated to cost Sh18 billion will involve a well-structured joint venture with a reputable global security entity for high-end security printing.

The strategic modernization and transformation framework for the Government Press is anchored on five pillars: A clear statutory foundation and mandate, satisfying the needs of all its customers, diversifying its menu of products and services, securing a strong organizational foundation and building a capable and motivated workforce.

“If the services will be regionalized, it will reduce the cost that citizens, especially those from far-flung counties like Tana River and Lamu incur while seeking Government Press services in Nairobi,” said Shahid Abdallah, a village elder, adding that the services should be stationed at regional headquarters.

He says if the proposals will be implemented, delays in the issuance of birth notifications, birth certificates and passports will be a thing of the past.

The residents wanted a guarantee that their details would be safe as all government entities would be required to prepare printing and publishing activity plans as part of the budgeting cycle.

The Government Press will do 60 per cent of the printing and publishing works, while 40 per cent will be delivered or sourced through Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs).

“We want an assurance that the cost of getting the documents will be reduced once new machines are brought. How are you going to safeguard our documents from private printers?” posed Irene Randu, a Kisauni resident.

On his part, Hassan Mohamed, an Old Town Village Elder wanted the documents to be delivered on time as stipulated in the services charters displayed at the various government offices.

Collins Kiprono, a member of the Taskforce Technical Committee says their work revolves around three key issues: Changing the infrastructure for the production of documents, improving the working conditions of the staff and anchoring legislation on the Government Printer.

“Majority of the residents have requested for decentralization of Government Printer to reach many people. We will take the recommendations to the President for the Government Printer to be established in either regions or counties for services to reach Kenyans at the grassroots,” said Kiprono.

By Sadik Hassan

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