Online portals are gaining popularity in large institutions such as universities, banks and financial institutions among others. This is because having a platform makes it easier for both the institution and the individual, as the institution can have a one stop portal where they can serve the people better, who no longer have to queue in line for hours on end.
Given the benefits that electronic service delivery offers, governments around the world are moving systematically to increase the contact their citizens have with them online by establishing country portals. The Kenyan Government has not been left behind, and have introduced e-Citizen.
Launched in 2014, e-Citizen is the one-stop portal for government information and services. e-Citizen pioneered the concept of providing cross-agency, citizen-centric information and services, to help Kenyan Citizens complete their transactions conveniently. e-Citizen is an initiative by the Ministry of Finance and is managed by the I.C.T. Authority of Kenya.
The benefits that come with the installation of an online government platform are numerous. The e-Citizen portal is more transparent, convenient & secure means to access the information and services of various governmental departments. The platform allows the integration of information and services from different governmental organizations in one place for the citizens. Information is organised in groupings that enable Kenyans to find the information and services they need easily. These are namely :- Businesses, Marriage, Driving, Lands, Immigration and Civil Registration Services. This neat organisation ensures that the information and services provided on this platform are directly delivered by the correct agency with the right knowledge. Citizens and businesses no longer need to understand how government is organised or the department responsible for the service that is required, and will also spare lots of Kenyans from wasting time and resources running up and down the C.B.D. looking for a specific agency.
e-Citizen has also teamed up with Safaricom, who have provided them with a PayBill number to ease transactional capability. PayBill Number 206206 is specifically for these government services. This makes things so much easiers for Kenyans, as you no longer have to worry about having to give a bribe or being conned by wayward government agents. With the Safaricom PayBill Number, you can pay for your drivers license, passport, national ID and others from your mobile phone. This will help save transaction costs for the individual, as well as save lots of processing time. In the past customers would have to carry around lots of cash on their person or would have to deposit the cash in an account then present bank slips to the teller. These practices were risky (just in case you got mugged, or worse) and downright exhausting and time consuming, With the introduction of the PayBill number, users can simply use the money in their M-PESA accounts without any major hiccups.
It will be interesting to see how e-Citizen’s collaboration with M-PESA will play out, especially following the recent directives by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga that will drastically reduce the ugly corruption that is rampant in traffic fine collection. No traffic offenders will be locked up in police cells without first being granted an opportunity to pay the fine or raise the cash bail. In addition, traffic courts will now be required to process fine payments in open courts.
Other than reducing corruption, this collaboration will save lots of time and money for both the government, the individual and businesses.