The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) is considering the incorporation of private motor vehicles into its annual motor vehicle inspection program, aiming to improve road safety.
The proposal, currently in its preliminary stages, is under discussion to determine the most effective way forward.
The draft comprises a regulatory framework for motor vehicle inspection, with a significant focus on incorporating private vehicles. Ongoing discussions are exploring the possibility of engaging private sector entities to enhance inspection capacity.
George Njau, the Director General of NTSA, testified before the Senate Transport Committee on Tuesday, revealing that the authority currently manages 17 inspection centers across the country.
Njau informed the committee that the matter of fees for private vehicle inspection is yet to be resolved and is still a subject of ongoing discussion.
Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna expressed apprehensions about the initiative, suggesting that it might be a hastily conceived plan aimed at generating revenue.
“What is the justification for that fee? Are you looking for money, or are you looking for safety?” Sifuna posed.
Njau defended the proposal, emphasizing that the choice to implement inspections is rooted in safety and public involvement. He clarified, “When we initiated this process, we conducted a public participation exercise earlier in the year across all regions.”
But Sifuna went on to criticize NTSA for contemplating the inclusion of private sector players in motor vehicle inspection, claiming that their profit-oriented approach would result in escalated costs for Kenyans.
“If you do not have the capacity yourselves to conduct inspections, do not involve the private sector. We already experience delays in commercial vehicle inspections; why insist on doing something beyond your capacity?” posed the Senator.
Sifuna added: “Kenyans cannot afford any more levies; they lack the capacity to bear additional charges. Inspection should remain a government function, particularly for commercial vehicles.”
The Director General reiterated that the suggested road safety measures are still in the draft stages, with ongoing discussions on the best course of action.
“We can build on it to ensure we address all issues that directly impact Kenyans,” he said.
As part of their strategy, NTSA aims to distribute free handbooks to both private and commercial vehicle owners to address information gaps.
“We will provide handbooks to the public to refresh their knowledge on road safety, the traffic code, as there is sometimes an information gap on how to interpret and use available information,” Njau explained.