The Auditor-General, Nancy Gathungu, has expressed concern over the government press’s use of outdated and obsolete equipment. According to Gathungu, more than 70% of the printing machines currently in use were acquired between 1930 and 1980. These old machines frequently break down and are costly to maintain, as it is difficult to find spare parts for their repair. This has led to high maintenance costs for the government press. In her latest audit of the Government Press Fund, Gathungu stated that the use of these outdated machines has caused obsolescence, leading to inefficiency and increased expenses.
In addition to the high maintenance costs and frequent breakdowns, Gathungu also noted that the use of aged equipment has negatively impacted the government press’s competitiveness in the industry. The outdated machines have increased production costs, making it more difficult for the government press to compete with other printers. As a result, the government press’s ability to effectively serve its clients, which include government ministries, departments, agencies, and the general public, has been hindered. Gathungu called for the government press to upgrade its equipment in order to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
According to the Interior Ministry, the government press is currently reviewing its services in order to set the cost of printing at market rates. The press is facing funding issues, with former Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho stating that it has been severely underfunded. In an effort to modernize the plant and improve efficiency, the government has allocated 300 million Kenyan shillings towards initial modernization works. The government press is responsible for printing a variety of important documents, including budgets, economic surveys, acts of parliament, and gazette notices. It also sells copies of reports from the Controller of Budget and Auditor-General at a price of 5,000 Kenyan shillings per volume, acts of parliament at 110 Kenyan shillings, and commissions of inquiry reports at 1,800 Kenyan shillings.
In addition to its other printing services, the government press is also the designated printer for all security-related documents. This includes documents such as title deeds, log books, birth and death certificates, and revenue stamps. The press charges ministries a fee for printing gazette supplements, with rates ranging from 15 Kenyan shillings for two pages to 180 Kenyan shillings for a maximum of 40 pages. The government press’s role in producing these important documents emphasizes the need for it to maintain modern and efficient equipment in order to fulfill its responsibilities effectively.
The government press provides printing services to a number of government agencies at subsidized rates. These agencies include the Ministry of Lands, the Civil Registration Department, the National Transport Safety Authority, and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. The press does not charge the National Assembly, the Senate, or the Treasury for printing services. The subsidized rates and free services offered by the government press highlight its important role in supporting the operations of various government agencies and institutions.
In her audit, Gathungu also raised concerns about the safety and health of the government press’s employees. She noted that the press’s paper stores have poor ventilation, which puts workers at risk of respiratory diseases. Additionally, the press did not have adequate safety and firefighting equipment in the stores, posing a further danger to employees. Gathungu called on the government press to address these issues in order to protect the well-being of its workers and ensure compliance with safety regulations.