“No more free lunch” as Kuria set to introduce fees for services at Huduma centres

Public Service Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria has announced the government will soon introduce a fee for services offered at Huduma centres across the country.

This comes as the CS also fired a warning shot to 900,000 public servants that it will not be business as usual and they must perform or quit because the days of laziness are gone.

Speaking after he officially took over his new office from his counterpart Ms Aisha Jumwa, Mr Kuria said the fee will be charged on both government and private sector services.

Without mentioning how much the fee will be, the CS said that through the fees that will be charged on the 60,000 daily transactions done at the centres, the centres will be able to be self-sustainable.

He explained that the new development is aimed at making sure the 52 Huduma centres countrywide are able to generate their own revenue.

Mr Kuria pointed out that the centres have for long depended on funding from the Exchequer but they want to change that.

However, the CS said President William Ruto challenged his ministry on the issue of sustainability of the Huduma centres by ensuring they do not solely depend on the Exchequer.

He said he will have a discussion with consumer departments within government before effecting the new proposal.

“My first area in that endeavour is to ensure Huduma Centres do not depend on money from the Exchequer but we generate our own revenue. I am going to have a discussion with consumer department within government, people like immigration, driving licence and all these…You have been enjoying this service for so long without paying for it. Now there will be no more free lunch. You have to pay for it,” said Mr Kuria.

“We are going to introduce a fee for service be it government and private sector services to support our e-commerce because Huduma Centres can be the backbone of our national e-commerce initiatives,” he added.

Some of the government services that are currently offered at the Huduma Centers include renewal of driver’s licences, duplicate national identity cards, and the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).

Others include National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) registration and claims, HELB – Student Loan application and repayments, registration of welfare groups, issuance of police abstracts, single business permit and stamp duty assessment among others.

The news of paying for services at the Huduma centres did not go down well with a section of Kenyans who were apparently irked by Kuria’s new directive.

Hours later, in what appeared to be a possible response to the backlash, Mr Kuria took to his social media account to ‘clarify’ his earlier statement, saying that the fee for the service would not be charged to the public, but to institutions that outsource their services to the centres.

“The Public is already paying government departments for services offered through Huduma Centres BUT those departments DO NOT pay Huduma Centres for distributing their services to the public thus forcing Huduma Centres to depend 100% on Exchequer Support. Such departments are the one to pay fee for service not the public” he said.

The former Trade CS said he also intends to expand the reach of the Huduma centres in the country by ensuring there is a Huduma centre in each of the 893 Postal Corporation offices in the country.

“We will talk to the Postal Corporation of Kenya to ensure everywhere there is a postal office there is Huduma Centre because Kenyans have shown they have got faith and confidence in the centres,” he said.

Further, he said his ministry will rope in the private sector to partner and roll out services that have got nothing to do with the government.

“We want to make the private sector trust us in doing services that have got nothing to do with the government because this is one area where the public sector is doing better than the private sector. Why not offer our services to the private sector?” posed Mr Kuria.

The Huduma Kenya programme was created to facilitate the provision of a wide array of government services in a single unit dubbed Huduma Centres with the first Huduma Center in Nairobi launched in 2013 by former President Uhuru Kenyatta.


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