Automation will save Kenya millions, says Dr. Ndemo

Automation will help Kenya’s government cut the cost of manual systems from US$1 billion to US$100 million, according to Kenya’s permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication Dr. Bitange Ndemo, though the idea is still facing resistance.

Ndemo was speaking yesterday at the Ignite Summit held at The Junction in Kenya’s capital Nairobi.

Though a number of government departments have started automating their operations, Ndemo said the automation of government systems and other sectors of the economy have faced resistance by people missing the bigger picture on the benefits to the country as a whole.

“Many of us do not realize that the current manual processes leave a lot of loopholes for corruption and other malpractices. If we embrace automation, we can save up to 90 percent of the costs incurred operating on the manual system,” he said.

Automation of the Ministry of Lands processes led to an increase in revenue to KSh8 billion (US$96 million) from KSh800 million (US$9.6 million) per year, the permanent secretary said.

Following this example, other departments are moving towards automation. The Kenya Judiciary will on Thursday launch a new service, dubbed ‘Faini Chap Chap’, that will enable users to pay traffic court fines using M-Pesa, a Safaricom-owned mobile money transfer service.

Moving away from manual systems will do more than counter corruption and save money, Ndemo said, with automation allowing for the collecting and storing of data over a long period that can be used to make the right decisions and solve problems in a more efficient way.

“Most of the problems that governments and other top management face is lack of correct information to base their decisions on,” he said. “If we collect data, we can also use it to make predictions and prepare adequately for any eventualities.”

He urged the government and the private sector to embrace automation through change management by educating workers and the public on its advantages.

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