The establishment of Huduma Centers around different counties in Kenya has made doing business in Kenya easier, according to the latest report by the World Bank; Doing business in Kenya 2016.
The report shows the centers has streamlined business start-up requirements and increased transparency in property registration in the country in the 11 countries surveyed.
Huduma Centers, were set up under the Huduma Kenya program by the Government of Kenya ‘to transform business Public Service Delivery by providing citizens with access to various Public Services and Information from one stop shop service centers.
The report highlights the devolution of government services, such use of online avenues, as the key to easing business operations. The Huduma Centers, currently operating in 31 Counties, offer services such as Issuance if Birth Certificate, Issuance of Identity Cards, Registration of business name, Tax payment services as well as some health services such as blood pressure and sugar levels.
Some government ministries such as the Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development, availed operations online which has been noted to improve transparency in registering property as well as provides access to critical information about transactions undertaken according to the report.
The World Bank study which covers 4 indicators that determine business operations i.e. starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property and enforcing contracts, however says the execution of the system has not been 100% across all indicators in a single county. According to the World Bank, all counties rank in the top half and the bottom half on at least one indicator. Nairobi ranks first on registering property, but last on dealing with construction permits.
In unburdening the national government of some of the services and handing them to county offices, the execution of the program has also seen some counties such as Busia and Isiolo introduce new measures, which have made doing business in the area more cumbersome by increase of business permit fees. In Kiambu, trial and judgment and enforcement phases take 14 months.
Augusto Lopez Calaros the Director of Global Indicators Group, Development Economics at the World Bank Group says execution is the only way the program will attain its goals “The success of reforms hinges on better implementation, coordination across tiers of government and sustained capacity building to empower counties to make it easier to do business.”
The Huduma Program falls under the Ministry of Devolution and Planning, which was allocated KSh93 billion (USD919.3mln) in the 2016/2017 Kenya Budget.
By: Humphrey Ngugi H_NGUGI