Huduma Centres have transformed public service, says Kobia

Benard Gitau @benagita

Huduma centres — one-stop shops for government services — serve at least 30,000 people daily. Speaking during the launch of customer service week, Public Service Cabinet secretary Margaret Kobia said the centres have greatly improved efficiency in service delivery.

“Excellence service provision is when you can get access to end-to-end services without being referred to another service point,” she said.

According to Huduma Centre data, during the 2016/17 financial year, Sh12 billion was collected for ministries, departments and agencies through Posta-Pay System.

“The role of governments globally is to provide services to its citizens and one way to do so is through public service. It reflects why Huduma Centre was launched in 2013,” she added. In the 52 Huduma Centres across the country, Kobia said more than 88 services are offered in a cost-effective and timely manner.

“This is an innovation we are proud of and is evident in the numerous awards Huduma Centre has won at the international and local level,” she added.

Its effectiveness has been revealed by the study on the impact of Huduma Centre to Kenyans saving billions of shillings that could have been lost through corruption and transportation to access public services. On the overall, transport costs have been reduced by 67 per cent because of services provided by the centres in the country.

The study shows that every Kenyan, who sought its services saved an average of Sh422 in transportation costs.  The report also indicated that the centres have contributed significantly to the reduction of corruption in accessing public services by 96 per cent.

The study sought to understand the variation in the number of visits citizens make to complete an application for services related to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda at Huduma Centre compared to the traditional government service points.

It also sought to find out the transport costs involved, the time saved, the loss suffered by citizens at the traditional service points and savings made when served at Huduma Centre.

Due to the demand for its services nationally, the Report recommends that Huduma Centres should create more outlets to provide more services to the citizen.

In July this year, Kobia issued a directive extending working hours at two Huduma Centres within the city centre in a move it says will help serve the public more efficiently.

Kobia said the GPO and City Square Huduma centres will now operate from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Previously, the centres, which were launched in 2013 to improve access to basic government services, operated from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The centres offer services such as an application for national ID cards, the National Social Security Fund, business permits, and driving licenses. Other services include registration of companies, processing of birth certificates among others.

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