The government is keen on fostering Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) to deliver development on key transport infrastructure, Cabinet Secretary for Roads, Transport and Public Works Kipchumba Murkomen has said.
Murkomen said the sector was capital intensive and taxes alone cannot finance infrastructure hence the need to bring investors on board.
“If we are waiting for taxes to deliver on transport infrastructure it will not work, we must leverage the private sector to invest and make the movement of both people and goods faster,” he said.
The CS said PPPs should not be misconstrued as selling off public utilities but rather as a quick and reliable model of financing development while guaranteeing high returns to the investors.
He cited the expressway as one of the projects funded through a PPP model that has helped ease transport.
“The expressway saves time and fuel for motorists who would otherwise spend time stuck in traffic jams, although the investors are not local they took the risk and are assured of returns. We need to have local investors for similar projects,” said the CS.
Murkomen was speaking on Monday during an inspection of the construction of a railway siding at the Export Processing Zones (EPZs) in Athi River.
He said Kenya Railways was waiting for the final design of the project from the consultant and once complete the siding will ease transport and reduce costs for investors in the EPZs.
“The ministry will ensure that enough locomotives are acquired to enable investors to transport their goods to the Mombasa port, or even to Kampala if need be,” said the CS.
Murkomen also underscored the need to create an enabling environment that will improve the trade balance in the country.
“The reason why the Kenyan shilling is depreciating is because of the skewed trade. As a country we do a lot of imports and do not have enough exports,” he added.
The proposed siding project to be constructed at a cost of Sh3.7 billion is expected to be financed by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) among other entities.
The CS noted that pension funds are strategic partners that should be utilized before looking for external investors.
“Countries like the US and China have successfully used pension funds to develop infrastructure,” he added.
The CS was accompanied by Trade and Industry CS Moses Kuria and Labour and Social Protection CS Florence Bore.