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Uhuru picks boss for new PPP affairs department

By Roselyne Obala | January 20th 2021 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Christopher Kirigua. [Courtesy]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has appointed Christopher Kirigua as the director-general of the newly created department for Public Private Partnership (PPP).

Mr Kirigua's appointment follows weeks of attacks on the Jubilee administration's appetite for loans and state of the economy.

Kirigua is a former Executive Director Regional Head of sustainable Finance, Africa and Middle East at Standard Chartered Bank.

Yesterday, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ukuru Yatani said Kirigua, an investment expert, will be tasked with assessing ongoing projects with a view of transforming them to PPP model.

The Standard has established that the appointment followed a series of meetings held at State House on Monday.

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“The deliberations were based on strengthening of the Public Private Partnership (PPP), which is an important aspect in the economic recovery post Covid-19. The director general is an investment expert for private sector,” said the CS.

Yatani, however, sought to clarify that the new post has not been necessitated by the effects of Covid-19 and debt burden, but it has been in progress for many years.

“This matter has been sitting for years. The role will include advising on the laws and coming up with proposed legislation and regulations on how best to engage the private sector to save government from more borrowing,” said the CS.

The country’s public debt stood at Sh7.3 trillion by November 2020.

“This was a normal engagement with regular briefings with all sector players. We are optimistic that the economy is on a recovery path and out of the woods,” said Yatani, who remained optimistic of a rebound.

Yatani has in the past admitted that the revenue collection is falling and this saw counties go for months without receiving funds from the exchequer.

He also weighed in on the thorny issue of expanding the debt ceiling from Sh9 trillion to Sh12 trillion by seeking parliamentary approval.

“This has not been firmed up. The discussion is not on. If we didn’t change amid the climax of the Covid-19 pandemic last year when business went down, it might not happen. Additionally, we are still dealing with concessional loans and liquidity among others,” he said.

The president also led the Kenyan delegation at State House to engage the British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott, ahead of a visit by a UK minister on charm offensive in the continent to discuss post-Brexit.

Today, the UK will host the African Investment Conference which, according to Marriott, is a great opportunity for Kenya and her country as well as African businesses.

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