NTSA Director-General George Njao answers questions from the public via Sunday Nation.

For many Kenyans, it is difficult to understand where NTSA belongs. Why was NTSA moved to the Ministry of Interior? Would you say that NTSA is in the transport sector or security? How is this uncertainty affecting your service delivery? Kepha Musyoka, Nairobi

NTSA is operationally domiciled in the Ministry of Interior and National Government Coordination but retains close working connections with the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works in the areas of regulatory and policy development. The reason for this arrangement is due to the nature of the authority’s functions which touch on both transport and security thereby requiring direct and close collaboration with the Interior ministry. Consequently, the government, through Executive Order No 2 of 2019, placed the authority under the Ministry of Interior. This has improved functional coordination between the authority and the agencies under the Ministry of Interior thereby improving service delivery.

Services at NTSA have been wanting. The systems have always been off most of the time thus affecting vehicle registration, transfer and driving licence application. What are you doing about this? Sylvia Amondi, Nairobi

As a citizen-centric authority, for the past year, we have taken a major digital transformation targeting our core business systems and processes. The objective was to ensure security, integrity and service availability, especially those relating to vehicle registration, transfers, logbooks, and issuance of driving licences.

This has resulted in a reduction in costs to the public. For example, a person does not need to continually incur transportation costs visiting our offices. It has also minimised human intervention thereby reducing opportunities for corruption, enhancing service accessibility and availability, for example, a person can access our services 24 hours a day, seven days a week and not just during the normal 8 am to 5 pm working hours and on weekdays. Finally, it has enhanced the security and integrity of service delivery just to mention a few benefits.

While NTSA has made some strides to open offices outside Nairobi, more needs to be done to bring the services even closer. Take for example a person who has to travel all the way from Wajir to Nairobi for a driving licence which will take another three months to be out. What plans do you have for opening more offices across the country? Hashim Adan, Wajir

As I stated, we had technical and operational delays that may have resulted in some slight delays but these have since been resolved.

Indeed, in order to enhance service delivery, especially in relation to the issuance of driving licenses and logbooks, the authority has decentralised its services in phase 1 to the Huduma Centres in Thika, Machakos, Kisumu, GPO Kibra, Mombasa, Nakuru, Kericho, Kakamega, Meru, Embu, Eldoret, Kisii, Kilifi and Garissa in addition to our 17 regional offices. In phase 2, we are in the process of acquiring more equipment so as to establish a presence in all the Huduma Centres in the country thereby improving service accessibility.

Further, NTSA has conducted and continues to conduct mass driving licence enrolment drives targeting various institutions, clubs, government departments, private institutions, boda boda operators and counties where we have no presence such as Wajir, Mandera and Marsabit.

In addition to these, the authority also synchronised all services under www.ntsa.go.ke to enable easy access by our clients. Our ultimate goal is to not only achieve the presidential one day service directive but also ensure accessibility to our services throughout the country.

I have observed that the authority lacks the requisite capacity to undertake motor inspections all over Kenya due to limited personnel. Is it time these services are outsourced from accredited private motor inspectors? Dan Murugu, Nakuru City

NTSA has leveraged on technology to automate its motor vehicle inspection process thereby increasing its capacity to adequately inspect all vehicles requiring motor vehicle inspection. This includes the introduction and implementation of an online booking system which has eliminated congestion or queuing at our various inspection centres throughout the country, the deployment of the use of tablets in the inspection process thereby reducing the inspection time from 30 to 10 minutes without compromising on quality, and the modernisation of the Likoni and Miritini inspection centres.

Other non-technology-based interventions introduced include the re-engineering of the motor vehicle inspection processes and procedures as well as the re-training, continuous training and monitoring of our inspectors.

What is your relationship with the National Police Service (NPS)? There have been reports of your two institutions not getting along amid accusations of sabotage. Is there any truth in this? Javan Mutie, Kitengela

Any reports of sabotage and disharmony between NTSA and the NPS are false. Contrary to the narrative out there or popular belief, NTSA and NPS have an excellent symbiotic working relationship. This has been achieved by an appreciation and understanding of each other’s distinct mandates which are complimentary as opposed to overlapping. This appreciation and understanding eliminates any chance of misunderstanding.

You are in your last year of the first term as director-general. As the period comes to an end, do you think you have achieved what you wanted to? Wycliffe Otieno, Nairobi

I would wish to state that any achievements or strides NTSA has made are attributable to team effort between the ministries of Interior and Transport, the NTSA Board, management and staff. Over the past two years we have managed to accomplish the following:

– Enhanced the oversight and management of the authority by adopting an improved organizational structure that promotes specialization; people/talent management.

– Development of various policies, regulations and standards. These include the enactment of the Traffic (Driving Schools, Driving Instructor and Driving License) Rules of 2020, which inter alia provide for a new curriculum for training and testing of drivers, Traffic Amendment (Registration Plates) Rules, 2021, Development and implementation of Kenya Standards (KS372:2019) for Road/Passenger Vehicle Body Construction.

– System automation (leveraging on technology). NTSA has promoted the use of technology through re-engineering of Transport Integrated Management System (TIMS).

– Resource mobilisation and projects implementation. NTSA has continuously implemented programmes aimed at reducing road crashes. This includes the Usalama Barabarani project supported by the European Union targeting the Northern Corridor that is more prone to road accidents.

– Improved relationship with stakeholders/external constituents.

– Leadership and culture change. Implemented a re-structured management and rotation of key positions to ensure best fit in tandem with its vision for an efficient, reliable and safe transport system for Kenya.

Many Kenyans continue dying on the roads. What strategies have you put in place to bring down the carnage? Beverly Nyambura, Ol Kalou

I should start by stating that road safety is a shared responsibility between all road users. Road safety begins with you and me. We all have an individual and collective responsibility to ensure and enhance road safety.

This said, NTSA in conjunction with NPS have adopted both short and long-term strategies which are contained in the National Road Safety Action Plan 2021-2025. This plan will guide the overall implementation of road safety policy in Kenya over the next five years.

The plan is premised on the fact that there is need to specifically address the three elements that contribute to road accidents i.e. the infrastructure factor which relates to the condition of the road, human factor which relates to the behaviour of the road user and vehicle factor which relates to the condition of the vehicles.

A non-exhaustive list of measures taken in each element are as follows:

In relation to the infrastructure factor, the authority is working closely with the various road authorities to ensure the safety of available road infrastructure. Some of the joint interventions undertaken include the mapping and implementation of remedial measures, a good example being the works undertaken in the Salgaa area.

In relation to the human factor, NTSA has enhanced the quality of driver training and testing through the development and implementation of a new curriculum, conducted various public road safety awareness campaigns and in conjunction with NPS, enhanced enforcement. NTSA is also currently in collaboration with NYS undertaking a nationwide boda boda safety programme which seeks to address both behavioural, skills and licensing needs of the subsector.

In relation to the vehicle factor, NTSA has revamped its motor vehicle inspection centres to enhance its capacity to ensure the roadworthiness of vehicles. In conjunction with the Kebs, we developed and currently implementing the Kenya Standard 372:2019 Road Vehicles

– Passenger vehicle Body Construction. This standard regulates the construction of PSV bodies to enhance road safety by ensuring the integrity of the body during an accident to avoid unnecessary loss of life due to poor construction.