, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 8 – The Government has launched a data website that will help policy makers and business people access timely and accurate information in formulating policies and making business decisions.
Speaking during the launch of www.opendata.go.ke, President Mwai Kibaki said the website would allow for information sharing and shall be useful in making information readily available.
"This includes information ranging from the recent census to Government budgets and expenditures to schools and health facilities," President Kibaki said.
The President pointed out that the website, being launched for the first time, would make large quantities of Government data available to the public in a digital electronic format.
"It will also be helpful to scholars and students undertaking research work in various areas of the public sector. The launch of this website is, therefore, welcome. I commend all those who have been involved in its development," he said.
The President called on Kenyans to make use of the Government data portal to enhance accountability and improve governance in the country, saying data is the foundation of improving governance and accountability.
The Head of State emphasised that availability of reliable and timely data would also enable citizens to keep track of service delivery because it is the basis for determining whether the Government is delivering services effectively and accountably.
"This way the people can hold Government service providers accountable for the use of public resources," the President said.
He said the website will also facilitate the successful implementation of the new Constitution which is gathering momentum with important legislation passed, new institutions established and new leadership appointed to lead the judiciary.
Noting that the country has embarked on a historic and ambitious decentralization which will bring public services closer to the public, the President said through the website, every county will have quick access to information.
Said the President: "As I pointed out during a recent symposium on implementation of the Constitution, we must move resolutely to enshrine constitutional principles on governance, ethics and integrity, social cohesion and equity, as well as justice into Kenya\’s laws and institutions."
President Kibaki expressed optimism that the website will not only make information readily available, in a timely and accurate manner but also help keep the public up to date and equipped to make informed contribution to the Constitution implementation process.
In line with the letter and spirit of the Constitution and its guarantees on citizen access to information, the President said, the launch of the website marks an important step in efforts to open up the Government and make it more responsive, efficient and accountable.
"My Government recognises that information is power and an informed citizenry is an empowered citizenry. For this reason, we will continue to facilitate free flow of and access to information as a critical requirement for the creation of an open society," the President said.
He reassured that the Government will enact necessary legislation, in line with the Constitution, to ensure continued public access to its data and information.
Noting that the ICT sector has made major contributions to the country\’s economy with an annual growth rate of 20 per cent in the last few years, President Kibaki urged Kenyans to embrace ICT in all sectors in order for to reap the full range of benefits it offers.
Said the President: "The information and telecommunications sector has continued to open new opportunities in our country. Kenyans are using ICT in innovative ways that are attracting global attention, among them mobile money transfer."
The President directed the Ministry of Information and Communications to urgently hold consultations with stakeholders so that Kenyans can have access to more affordable and speedy internet connections, saying the full benefits of fibre optic connections that were meant to deal with the issue are yet to be felt.
Speaking during the occasion, Information and Communications Minister Samuel Poghisio said the Kenya Open Government Data Portal launched by the President today will not only promote openness but teamwork and enhance the public/private partnerships.
On his part, Planning, National development and Vision 2030 Minister Wycliffe Oparanya welcomed the government Data Portal as a tool to ensure equality in release and access of public information.
The Minister said his ministry remained the major source of development data to be shared with public and assured of continued upgrading to maintain quality of the information availed.
He called for hastened development of digital villages at the primary school level to empower pupils and villagers with information to hold those in authority accountable for the resources and services offered.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZ2R9UyelMg
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