Government Assures Kenyans Of The Safety Of The E-Citizen Portal

The Principal Secretary for the State Department of Information, Communications Technology (ICT) and Digital Economy Eng. John Kipchumba Tanui has affirmed that the government is in full control of the E- Citizen platform dismissing recent allegations that the system is privately run. He said the system, which has been in development since 2013 and has been piloted through the support of the World Bank, was foolproof in supporting the digitization of government services where a total of over 15,000 services have been onboarded to date.

The PS said the government took over the running of the system last year after it entered into contractual arrangements with local innovators to ensure its interests are met adding that the process of standardizing the critical system is successfully achieved.

Eng. Tanui’s assurance remarks come after Auditor General Nancy Gathungu raised concerns over private control of the e-citizen platform which she said could compromise the accountability of the billions of shillings pro
cessed through the platform.

‘The E-Citizen systems marks a huge milestone in the digital transformation agenda which has enhanced clarity, transparency and collection of revenue across government agencies,’ said the PS.

He was speaking in Naivasha on Saturday during a stakeholders’ workshop and engagement of the Ministry of Ministry of Information, Communications and Digital Economy and the National Assembly Committee on Communication, Information Innovation led by Dagoretti South Member of Parliament (MP) John Kiarie Waweru who is also the chair of the committee. During the engagement, it emerged that the State Department for ICT and Innovation has a high budget deficit of over Sh.79 billion for the financial year 2023/24 with the department having been allocated only Sh29 billion to facilitate the government’s digital transformation agenda.

Eng. Tanui said the digitization programme being championed by the Ministry is based on the Digital Master Plan 2022-23 which was estimated to cost Sh500 billion but
it brings huge returns to the country by creating employment for the youth.

‘To this end, we are looking for ways of involving donors in the digitization programme and the World Bank is ready to use support through the Kenya Digital Economy Acceleration Fund and a Government Department of South Korea is partnering with the Kenya Government in funding the Konza technopolis. We are targeting to raise Sh1.9 billion through our internal collections with Sh782 million having been collected to date,’ he said.

Konza Technopolis is touted to be Africa’s Silicon Savannah and is a key flagship project of Kenya’s Vision 2030 economic development portfolio.

He said there is a need to establish a digitization fund to ensure the digitization of the over 74, 000 institutions which have been mapped out is achieved and a committee comprising of various stakeholders was already working on it.

‘We need funding to maintain, monitor the system and ensure the security of the digital superhighway and steady flow of the broadban
d,’ the PS said.

During the engagement, it merged that the State Department has a pending bill of Sh2.578 billion which the PS said has been committed to the pending bills review committee that seeks to establish if the bills were genuine, inflated or dubious before payment.

On the other hand, the PS said the ministry is championing the critical ICT Infrastructure Bill that will give force to the protection and safeguarding of critical infrastructure from malicious damage, destruction and sabotage.

It’s worth noting that the Government is on course to establishing 25,000 WiFi hotspots across the country as well as 1,450 digital hubs spread across all constituencies and the National Government -Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) will allocate three per cent of its monies towards infrastructural upgrades on this digital hubs initiative in the constituencies.

Digital hubs are physical spaces with access to superfast broadband alongside community and business-focused services.

Karie on his part said the
engagement had been fruitful in reviewing the progress made by the ministry in various sectors, challenges encountered and how the Parliament could help find solutions to the challenges and set new targets and budgetary allocations for the new financial year. He was accompanied by committee members; Joseph Tonui (Kuresoi South MP), Hamisi Kakuta Maimai (Kajiado East) and nominated MP Irene Mayaka. The MPs praised the digitisation programme in the country terming it a game changer in terms of creating employment for the youth and vowed to come up with necessary legislation to support it.

Source: Kenya News Agency