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Kenyans embrace online access to government services

Posted by Administrator on December 28, 2011

by Bedah Mengo

NAIROBI, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) — Seated in his cybercafe in Nairobi, Kenya, Bernard Njiru welcomes a customer and sets up a computer so she can access the Internet.

After working on the computer for some time, the young woman turns to Njiru and asks almost in a resigned voice: “How does one get a tax registration number? I have tried here for several minutes but things seem not to be working out.”

Njiru walks to her computer and soon the lady smiles as she sees the printer churning out the Personal Identification Number (PIN) certificate.

Her happiness is understandable. She could have spent several days getting the number, but, thanks to the Internet, she can access online services and the process only takes about seven minutes.

The woman is among millions of Kenyans who are getting used to accessing official documents online as the government decentralizes its services via the Internet.

Some government departments have partnered cybercafe owners, turning them into quasi-public servants as they assist Kenyans in accessing online services.

“It is one of the most efficient, affordable and fastest ways one can access essential government services. The Internet has reduced traveling costs for many Kenyans, who access the services at their doorsteps through cybercafes or in the comfort of their houses,” Njiru said.

The trader noted that more and more Kenyans are getting used to accessing online services as it saves a lot of time and resources.

The owner of Super World Cybercafe in Komarock, a middle-income residential area in the capital, said the number of people seeking government services through the Internet had increased.

“Most of those coming here want to apply for tax registration numbers while others want to print the document, which is necessary for tax compliance,” the owner said.

Other government services sought include filing tax returns, applying for public service jobs and downloading higher education loan forms.

A report released in mid-December by Google on how Kenyans searched for information on the Internet showed Kenya Revenue Authority PIN application topped the list of search queries.

Analysts said the findings underlined the importance of decentralizing government services and urged other state departments to give people access to their services via the Internet.

While offering online government services has helped Kenyans access key documents faster, the move has also presented business opportunities to hundreds of cybercafe owners, who are facing a threat from Internet-enabled phones.

Antony Mogare, an attendant at Switch Cybercafe in Nairobi’s central business district, said online government services had helped the business widen its revenue sources.

“We used to make minimal profits from people who mainly came to check their email accounts. Those seeking government services end up printing the documents, thus enabling us to make some more money,” he said.

According to Mogare, one can make as much as 24 U.S. dollars a day from people seeking government services, especially those applying for tax certificates.

“It is one way of the government helping small-scale businesses to grow. If all state departments take their services online, people will throng to cybercafes in search of the services and this will help improve business and in turn the economy,” he said.

Source: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2011-12/27/c_131329907.htm

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3 Responses to “Kenyans embrace online access to government services”

  1. ITHAVETHI said

    Ingawa huu ni mwelekeo mzuri wa serikali ya Kenya katika kulahisisha na kulainisha utumishi bora kwa umma, swala kubwa laendelea kuning’inia: mbona hawakuanza kufanya hivyo katika Ardhi House, ambapo kwa miaka 15 ya Kenyatta, 24 ya Moi na mingine 8 ya Kibaki, dumbwi hili la wizi limewanyanyasa Wakenya kwa mingo zaidi ya minne. Ardhi house, ikishirikiana la wenzao katika idara ya mashamba mikoani na wilayani, imekuwa ikitumia mbinu chafu kwa kuficha faili, kutumia hadaa katika kuwakirisha fomu za kutafuta ukweli wa mashamba na ploti, kupeana hati za mashamba zenyu takshwishi, kuwafanya Wakenya kutumia siku nyingi wakipiga kambi katika ofisi hizi za ulanguzi, uchuara, upokeaji mlungura wa wazi huku wakuu wa wilaya na mikoa wakitazama na kuwabariki.

    Swala kubwa ni hili! Kwa weza kuwa na uwezakano kuwa waziri Orengo, katibu wake, wakuu wa mikoa, wilayani na idara hizi wanapata asilimia fulani ya hongo kutokana na hila hizi za kuwahangaisha Wakenya ambao wanatumia jasho zao kununua mashamba kihalali? Nani atanijibu swali hili? Nitangoja nakungoja hadi nife, ikiwepo wewe. Bure kabisa.

  2. wambeti said

    this dude writing in swahili………………..boring

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