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Uasin Gishu Residents support modernisation of Government Press

Uasin Gishu residents have declared their support for the modernisation of the Government Printing Press

They advocated for the decentralisation of the Government Press (GP) services to the county level to enable citizens access the services easily instead of being operated from Nairobi only.

The citizens were speaking when the presidential taskforce on the modernisation and transformation of the government press into an efficient and highly performing commercially viable entity led by Dr Patrick Omutia toured Uasin Gishu to collect citizen views.

Mr Philip Barno, a representative of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) said that the government press should be modernised to stay in line with the Up-to-date advanced publishing technologies which will enhance its capacity and efficiency of government information services.

He added that government information should reach the public faster and on time, and that that would be achieved through a modernised government press with modern machines.

Mr Barno further called for regional representation of the GP, noting that it should establish its offices in all the counties to improve access to government information by the citizens.

David Maritim said that decentralising the GP services to the counties will ease access to information as he called for upholding of integrity and accountability in running of the press.

He further said that rebranding the government press to a state corporation will enable it to generate income   besides getting allocation from the government and hence enhance its financial capacity.

The presidential taskforce was developing the road map, draft policy and strategy framework for building a government Press of Kenya for the Future and Policy Issues.

Dr Omutia said the policy and strategy framework envisages a government press that transcends its traditional boundaries, embracing the future by strengthening its role as the printer and publisher of choice for Government and embracing the commercial opportunities available for it to exploit and create value for the people of Kenya.

“It pictures the modernised and transformed GP as an authoritative and agile hub for government information resources. With the robust implementation of the blueprint the GP stands poised as a strategic commercial enterprise, generating value as envisaged under the Bottom-Up Transformation Agenda,” he noted.

He added that modernised GP is going to invest in high level security printing which will involve incorporating technologies like scan codes.

Dr Omutia added that moving the GP from being a government department to a corporation will enhance its capacity to serve citizens effectively, boost financial capacity and achieve the core value of timelines.

In his remarks, the head of Government Press Abdi Hassan regretted that the GP is still operating with obsolete machines, the 1930s Edinburg Press versions which render it uncompetitive with the current ever-changing technologies.

“Since its establishment in 1895, there have been various unsuccessful attempts at ministerial level by previous administrations to modernise and transform the Government Press,” he said.

He stated that modernisation of the GP will make it stay in line with the Kenya Kwanza Administration’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA), as it will enhance its capacity to deliver government services in a more efficient and effective manner.

He explained that the GP is the main tool of communication the government uses to inform the citizens of its development agenda.

“It is the designated printing press for production, standardisation, dissemination, cataloguing, authenticating and preserving of various public documents for national and county governments, parliament, judiciary, parastatals and Semi-Autonomous Government Agencies (SAGAs),” said Hassan.

He pointed out that modernisation of the GP through purchasing of the modern machines will enhance its capacity to tap into the current Kenyan publishing market which stands at approximately Sh 51 billion and further venture into the global printing market which is approximated at 388 billion US Dollars.

“Purchasing of the modern machines will give GP upper hand to venture into the global printing market as well as the Kenyan market which has a potential of Sh 51 billion,” he said.

“Printing of exam papers, passports, ballot papers both for the country and the region, this will generate income for the country and as well as enlarging our services by providing high end secure printing and publishing solutions,” explained Hassan.

By Ekuwam Sylvester

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