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One-stop Huduma centre still analogue

The Government is singing and attempting to live digital. Unfortunately, if the Huduma centre project started at Teleposta Towers last month is anything to go by, it is still some way off.

The centre is designed to bring together services from 10 Government agencies and it is run by the Devolution and Planning ministry.

We set off to see if indeed services were being delivered as my friend Geoffrey Kinyanjui wanted me to believe.

Pay Sh800

Kinyanjui claimed he had replaced his ID, renewed his driving licence and changed his NHIF status in 10 minutes. That sounded like a good deal and so, together with my business partner, we set off to register a company.

At 9am on Tuesday, we arrive at the centre. After picking a token number at the automation machine near the entrance, we are directed to a waiting area. The token registers the service that brings us to the centre.

After roughly 10 minutes, the system calls out our number. We head to the business registration counter where we are directed to the name search counter and write a request letter for a business name search. We fill in three names on the business registration form.

We needed one name but we were advised to put down three to increase the chances of getting a name during the first round.

At the cashier’s counter, we pay Sh300 for the three names and attach the receipt then take it back to the business registration counter.

It is past 10 in the morning and we are told to wait until 2pm as the letter needs to be taken to Sheria House, the Attorney-General’s office. At Sheria House, they run the business names against their files to avoid double registration.

In the afternoon, the letter hasn’t arrived so we opt to pick it the following day.

We head to the centre at 8am. At 9.10am, services begin. We are told letters are still at the AG’s. Again, we are advised to check in the afternoon!

The letter arrives in the afternoon with the name proposal sailing through.

It happens that we cannot register the business at the centre. We go to Sheria House hoping to complete the process.
At Sheria House, we are requested to pay Sh800 for the form which we fill and leave for processing.

We had high hopes of avoiding the bureaucracy but these were dashed. Hopefully, before similar centres are rolled out in other parts of the country, the staff and services offered at Teleposta will be aligned and those out to register their businesses will not have to go to Sheria House.

Ironically, Huduma is a supposed to be a one-stop shop.