County ICT Ministry To Enhance Technology In Provision Of Services

Kakamega County Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT), e-Government and Communication is determined to source for a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system as a way of ensuring efficiency and transparency in service provision to county residents.

This was revealed during the induction of the County Assembly committee on ICT, e-Government, Library and Communication by the department officers from the Executive on Friday.

Speaking during the meeting, the Chief Officer to the ministry, Mr. Phanuel Musasia outlined that his department has six key projects with ERP being one of them.

Other projects include; e-Revenue collection system, Production Studio, Motor-vehicle tracking system, Surveillance system (Closed Circuit Television - CCTV) and County Connectivity with each section having a Director.

“ERP project is at 100% implementation with its contract amount of Ksh. 509.24 Million.We have already paid Ksh. 498 Million with an outstanding balance of Ksh. 10 Million,” stated Mr. Musasia.

The officer further noted that the project has got a number of modules among them, the Public Sector Revenue Management system (PSRM), which he said had minimized theft cases adding that the program will be modified for efficiency and that there was need to merge it with the e-Revenue system under e-Revenue project to realize efficiency.

“Initially, the county could only realize a revenue collection of Ksh. 400 Million but with the introduction of e-Revenue system, we were able to collect Ksh. 999 Million under the same period ,” revealed Mr. Musasia, “and moving forward, the Ksh. 2.2 Billion target can be easily realized if the two are merged,” he concluded.

On relocation of the production studio, the committee was informed that this was prompted by the fact that the initial building (Kotecha) where the studio was to be installed was a private property hired by the county government.

According to the Director in charge of Connectivity project and ICT, Mr. Samuel Wetungu, the county government initially had plans to set up the County Radio but due to national government fear for misuse of county government owned radio stations, frequencies have been restricted to the national broadcaster which owns several regional radio stations that county governments should leverage on this national resource.

“We resorted to production studio after looking at the costly production process and high charge rates for air space including lack of a frequency for broadcasting. We do both video and audio productions and in future we even intend to do productions for our county residents at affordable rates,” he assured the committee.

With regards to connectivity projects, the Director highlighted that Local Area Networks (LAN) infrastructure was working and effectively at County Headquarters, Sahajanand offices, Kotecha offices, Mwauda offices, County General Hospital (CGH), Bukhungu stadium and 11 Level 4 Hospitals (done by development partners).

Internet connectivity had been done by Telkom Kenya, Safaricom Ltd and Nofbi2 which is a national government project under World Bank funding for the 47 counties.

He however, admitted that with CCTV Surveillance project, implementation process had been poorly done thus leading to the cancellation of the contract which was said to be ongoing.

“Out of a Budget of Ksh. 7.3 Million, Ksh. 2.9 Million had been paid and the Supplementary Budget has halved the budget,” said the Director.

He added that the department’s future plans and projections were to ensure that these projects are implemented across the county, establish 3 Wi-Fi stations across the 3 county regions, have ICT centres in the 60 Wards, have an ICT Training center (LAB) to adequately train ICT officers for efficiency purposes on ICT platforms among other prospects.

In response, the chairperson to the committee on ICT, e-Government, Library and Communication, Hon. Eddie Obwaka promised to work closely with the department to ensure that their goals are realized.

“We are committed to ensure that you rise beyond your expectations. Technology is key for any given country that needs to realize its manifesto as ICT experts we are enablers for any service within the county,” Hon. Obwaka explained.

The legislator, however, challenged the department to plan for another forum that will see them give a detailed proposal why they needed a new system instead of what they were have been using.

The Chief Officer further hinted that he had a 5 – year plan budget for the department in the Financial Year 2023/2024 regarding various projects which had already been incorporated in the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP).

“Under the ERP new system, I have put in place 3 policies on ICT, e-Revenue and Communication which we have to induct the Honourable members before we start using it,” said Mr. Musasia.

Present at the meeting were; the outgoing County Executive Committee (CEC) membet in charge of Finance, ICT and Economic Planning, CPA. Hon. Geoffrey Omulayi, ICT officers from the county executive among other top county officials.