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Watchdog wants ICT Ministry to take over control of eCitizen billions

By Frankline Sunday | Published Wed, March 7th 2018 at 00:00, Updated March 6th 2018 at 22:54 GMT +3

The National Treasury could soon lose the mandate to directly collect billions of shillings generated through the government’s eCitizen digital payments platform.

This follows a recommendation by the National Assembly’s Budget and Appropriations Committee to have the ICT Ministry take over the management of the platform.

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“The committee recommended that the Public Financial Management Act, 2012 be amended to have all the service fees raised in the eCitizen platform remitted to the Ministry of ICT as opposed to the National Treasury,” says the committee in its 2018/19 budget review report.

If the recommendation is upheld, Treasury could lose out on a direct revenue line from the hundreds of millions paid out by Kenyans using government services through eCitizen.

The platform went live in June 2014, allowing consumers to pay for government services such as passport and drivers’ licence renewal, business registration, and land rate payments.

Convenience fee

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According to data from the platform, more than Sh20 billion in government payments have been collected through more than eight million applications by seven million Kenyans as at last year.

Users pay a nominal 'convenience fee' that is a fraction of the cost of the service procured, for instance, Sh50 in addition to the Sh1,400 required by the National Transport and Safety Authority for a three-year driver’s licence renewal.