City Hall’s Sh1.3bn data centre is not working, lacks software

PHOTOSTORY-Kenya Airline Pilots Association Chairman Captain Njoroge Murimi (R) welcomes Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko to the gala dinner held by the association in commemoration of its 40th anniversary. The event was held in the city yesterday, and brought together aviation sector players, as well as local pioneer aviators who served the East African Airways and national carrier Kenya Airways.Photo/Monicah Mwangi
PHOTOSTORY-Kenya Airline Pilots Association Chairman Captain Njoroge Murimi (R) welcomes Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko to the gala dinner held by the association in commemoration of its 40th anniversary. The event was held in the city yesterday, and brought together aviation sector players, as well as local pioneer aviators who served the East African Airways and national carrier Kenya Airways.Photo/Monicah Mwangi

The Sh1.3 billion Wold Bank funded data centre launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta late last year to aid automation of services at City Hall is not functional.

A report on the site visit to the data centre by the ICT committee of the county assembly shows that components meant to support key functions are yet to be installed.

“It is disturbing to note that, almost one year down the line, the county is yet to fully realise the benefits of the data centre as its key opponents are yet to be procured for installation rendering the massive benefits from the centre untapped,” reads the report.

It was tabled by ICT committee chairman Osman Adow last Thursday.

According to the report, the county needs to spend Sh1.8 billion to purchase visualisation softwares required for the centre to fully operate.

The money include Sh1.5 billion for purchase of VMware and Sh30 million for ERP application system to support its key functions.

“These systems are the key components that can enable operationalisation of all the systems,” Adow said while tabling the report.

The centre is supposed to support electronic payments to reduce handling of cash, enhance collection and improve service delivery.

Currently, City Hall relies on systems provided by electronic payment firm JamboPay – a contractor hired in 2014 to automate revenue collection.

The complex centre is also supposed to support web services . This includes enabling the public to apply for services and make payments through the web. The county launched a web portal in June 2014 to enhance interaction with the public.

Integrated City Management Systems (ICMS) is the key function that the centre was envisioned to support.

“It will cover functionalities such as revenue management, human resource, procurement, citizen services and specialized departmental functions like fleet management,” Adow said.

Video conferencing, call centre service and telephony services are the other key communication components that the centre is expected to support.

The centre will also help the county establish CCTV control room for surveillance.

The project was started by the World Bank four years ago to support all the ICT platforms and activities in the county.

It abandoned it years later under unclear circumstances, despite hiring Price Water House Coopers to develop the county's ICT road-map and purchasing expensive equipment for the centre. It is not clear the amount City Hall pumped in prior to the launch.

The President and Deputy President launched the data centre in a much publicised and colourful ceremony at City Hall on December 11, 2018.