ICT

Kenya: Huduma Centres Suffer Internet Outage After Sh85m Payment Delay

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Internet outage Thursday left thousands of Huduma Centre customers unable to access key services countrywide, including registration of companies and processing of birth certificates.

The service outage, which started at around 10am due to non-payment of Internet bills amounting to Sh85 million, persisted for most of the day.

Nearly all services offered at the facility which was launched in November 2013 to improve access to basic government services including application of National Identity card, National Social Security Fund, business permits and driving licence were disrupted.

“They will be opened later today (yesterday). It is unfortunate they closed due to non-payment of quarterly dues,” said Public Service Cabinet Secretary Margaret Kobia.

Telkom Kenya is the primary provider of Internet to the centres on the National Optic Fibre Backbone (Nofbi).

Ms Kobia attributed the delayed payment to beginning of the financial year hitches.

A spot check at the Kenyatta Avenue Branch showed the system was not functioning at optimum capacity as hundreds of customers milled around the centre. It uses an e-web portal that provides integrated services offered by various government ministries, departments and agencies.

The first Huduma Centre was launched at Nairobi’s Telposta Towers four years ago but has since expanded to other parts of the city with plans to set one in each of the 47 counties.

Registration of the company name is the lengthiest of the 10 procedures that applicants seeking to start businesses in Kenya have had to grapple with.

In its annual Doing Business surveys, the World Bank estimates that out of the 32 days applicants have traditionally taken to start their businesses, name registration alone takes up to 14.

To get to the stage of name registration, an applicant has had to wait for three days for name reservation and another five for stamping of the Memorandum and Articles of association and statement of nominal capital.

But the centralised Huduma Centre services, the government hopes to significantly improve its Doing Business ranking.

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