How government press can make a profit, serve better


Public institutions operating below par are often a subject of ridicule for mediocrity, lethargy and endemic graft.

With hindsight, mismanagement, grand larceny, poor working culture and constant meddling are some of the factors dogging public institutions.

With the unique vantage point the Government Press holds as the monopoly of printing security documents, injection of resources to facilitate its modernisation will make the sleeping giant roar into commercial viability.

How the Government Press, established in 1895, has stayed afloat despite 75 per cent obsolescence of equipment and lurking in the pale shadows of its mother ministry, is a miracle.

By proposing an overhaul of its governance architecture, removing stifling encumbrances from bureaucratic entanglements in the ministry and curving its unparalleled niche in the printing business, GP will have a new lease of life into prosperity.

With the ever evolving technology, GP will have to inculcate new technological tools for efficiency in business development and stable revenue streams.

It is galling that GP still deploys ancient equipment to survive while competitors use state-of-the-art technology to innovate, attract and retain clients in printing world.

In keeping with President William Ruto’s promise to infuse competence and sound governance systems in public sector, GP should be first among equals.

For GP’s ambitious and rewarding walk to profitability to actualise, its capabilities must be optimised.

The latent functions should be ramped up to competitively attract businesses from clients locally and abroad in security and general printing.

Crucial printing works such as printing of passports, excise stamps, ballot papers, national examinations, log books, Legislative Bills, driving licences, title deeds, currency and other legal tenders, identity cards, Gazzete notices are among legal documents under the ambit of Government Press.

That GP has been rendering services to other state agencies and independent constitutional bodies without charging a single coin to compensate for labour, materials and human capital is a cruel joke.

Consequently, the institution must embrace structural adjustments and legal statutes to anchor it into a new era of growth and stability.

Further, it should leverage on the goodwill it enjoys from Kenya Kwanza administration to get credible strategic partners including a joint venture to breathe life into its systems and operations.

GP should also mop up all debts owed to it by government agencies. There is no justification for government agencies, state corporations and counties to enjoy free services from GP while it wallows in want.

A transformed Government Press will be a catalyst for paradigm shift in other public institutions. The ripple effect will be efficiency, seamless service delivery, satisfied clients and handsome dividends ploughing to the exchequer.

The writer is an advocate of the High Court