NTSA silent turf wars delay effecting of key decisions
The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) is locked in silent turf wars surrounding the expiry of terms of service of director general Francis Meja and director of motor vehicle inspection Gerald Wangai.
The tension has paralysed operations at the agency. Key among the decisions it has held back is settling on a firm deadline for implementation of new speed limiters.
Since NTSA declared December 1, 2018 as the effective implementation date to have all public service vehicles and those weighing above 3,048 tonnes fitted with tamper proof digital gadgets, the agency has postponed three scheduled deadlines.
The initial compliance date for vehicles to install the revised speed limiting device, standards KS 2295:2018, was March. It was then extended to June and the latest compliance date was set for August 5.
“Cartels have penetrated the authority making it difficult to enforce a deadline for the digital speed limiters. By March, only six companies were licensed to sell the new speed governors, last week they had listed 18 suppliers, and today 20 suppliers are licensed.
The truth is NTSA has been held hostage by cartels waiting to get licences and is thus unable to make decisions. That explains why the deadlines are being extended without explanation,” an insider said.
Yesterday, Meja defended the delays, saying the process has already begun and no there will be no compliance deadline going forward.
“The process has begun. There will be no deadline. What we expect is a gradual process where compliance is expected when the vehicle is due for inspection. This way we will have a smooth changeover unlike in the past whereby we see a big rush. The rush results in poor quality which we must avoid,” he said.
Last year, NTSA, Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) and the State Department of Infrastructure outlined the guidelines that would see all public service vehicles and those above the 3.5 tonnage install tamper proof speed limiters synchronised with the authority servers.
The revised speed limiting device standards KS 2295:2018 is an improved version of the first edition KS 2295:2011, which came into effect on April 1, 2014 and is now null and void.
Upgraded speed devices have smart simcards that can transmit data on the speed at which the car is moving, the location of the car, the driver and the sacco the vehicle belongs to. The gadgets will also be linked to drivers’ smart licences.
“Due to lack of enforcement mechanism of the new speed governors, matatu owners are renewing the old licenses at Sh5,000. At times only permits are displayed on the windscreen but there is no physical gadget installed,” a source said.
Through an Executive Order signed by President Uhuru Kenyatta on January 21, NTSA was moved to the Interior ministry from the Ministry of Transport.