Monday, 29 July 2013

We’d be more than happy to pay for systems that work

PHOTO | FILE A section of Thika Road. 
PHOTO | FILE A section of Thika Road.  NATION MEDIA GROUP
Posted  Sunday, March 3  2013 at  02:00
I am loath to add my voice to the whingeing, and instead long for an opportunity to praise (or at least sympathise) with those in charge of vehicle administration or traffic order.
Sadly, the facts present endless opportunities for brickbats and no reasons for bouquets.
Nevertheless, as a token of goodwill, I would like to offer the ministries and departments concerned my deepest and heartfelt sympathy, as well as hearty congratulations. I don’t know what for, but my ignorance is not necessarily their fault.
Armed with this brownie point, I would make the following request:
Please tell us how much money you want to allow us to drive our vehicles. We will pay up. Please load all the charges on the price of fuel. Easier for us to pay, easier for you to collect.
And it’s fair because those who use most fuel (a measure of road use) will pay more.
Charge whatever’s necessary to ensure we get roads built to standard, diligently maintained and administratively organised.
We know that such roads will save us time and reduce running costs, so even a hefty charge will be a bargain. But make it comprehensive so we won’t have to part with a single cent for anything else.
Then please tell us – as a completely separate exercise – what information you need for your records of ownership: make, model, colour, body type, CC, age, town ...We will provide it, on a single form.
In return for our absolute guarantee of co-operation in these matters, please allow the form to be submitted in a quick, simple process (nothing beats e-mail) at no cost.
Lottery number
Indeed, give us incentives to supply these details every time a vehicle, new or used, is bought, sold or scrapped. Every form could have a lottery number, with regular prize draws. As every vehicle has to be insured every year, make it a law that insurance companies must confirm receipt of the form before opening or renewing a policy. Pay them to do that.
This way, you would have exact information on each and every vehicle on Kenya’s roads at all times, generating a wealth of essential data for policy makers, planners, administrators, commerce and the public. Yes, the public. Publish the information on an open-access website.
Because the forms were submitted electronically, write a computer programme to automatically capture, process and grant access to this information in a nanosecond. There are thousands of nerds who would be only too happy to show you how. And how to create smart-card logbooks and many more beneficial spin-offs.
The three guiding principles here are: make use of the technology that even schoolchildren now use to run their lives (call it e-government); never combine processes that charge fees with processes that collect information; and when you get information from the public, share it with the public. Bingo!

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