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CS backs subcontracting of mega projects to locals

BUSINESS
By Graham Kajilwa | June 14th 2021

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani delivers the 2021/22 Budget speech to the National Assembly, 2021. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani has backed the proposed changes to the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015 that seeks to change how contracting of infrastructure projects is done.

The proposed changes seek to reduce the monopoly of multinationals in mega infrastructure projects in the country.

CS Yatani during the presentation of the 2021/22 Budget yesterday said the changes to the procurement law through the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal (Amendment) Bill, 2020 that is currently before Parliament would allow the award of a contract to multiple bidders.

“This will indeed support local firms and accelerate the delivery of services,” he said.

The Bill proposes that the procuring entity shall require successful bidders to give preference to registered Kenyan brokerage forms where subcontracting can be done.

If the procuring entity seeks specialised services, which are not fully or partly available in the country, the Bill puts restrictions that demand that the (international) firm awarded the bid should have its skills procured only for a defined period of time.

The successful bides also should share the knowledge of these “special skills” with Kenyans.

Yatani also urged the National Assembly to push the payment of pending bills to businesses providing services to the government, including counties.

“I urge this House to support our efforts towards enforcing compliance in payment of all verified pending bills by county governments by backing our proposal under Article 225 of the Constitution of Kenya to temporarily stop transfers to county governments that persistently fail to comply with the directive to clear pending bills,” he said.

Yatani said delays in payment of pending bills to businesses has affected the liquidity and operations of these entities.

“In a number of cases, this has led to the closure of businesses and affected livelihoods of the suppliers,” he said.

“Though progress was made in settlement of these bills by the National Government, we still have challenges with the county governments that still owe various suppliers huge amounts.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta on June 1, 2019, gave all government accounting officers, including those working for counties, to clear pending bills in a month. The directive was to support small businesses under the Buy Kenya Build Kenya initiative.

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