Budget boost for public-private partnerships

PPPs create room for greater finance and resource mobilization for projects off balance sheet. [iStockphoto]

This year's budget reading was presented amidst growing public debt and increased cost of living for citizens, hence its theme “accelerating economic recovery for improved livelihood”.

The budget statement has five major policy issues and interventions important to accelerate and improve the livelihoods of Kenyans.

Firstly, it is focused on enhancing the security of its citizens to enhance the sanctity of life and properties and create room for greater investments and prosperity.

Secondly, it focused on scaling up the development of critical infrastructures like roads, railways, energy, water, and programmes. According to the budget statement, Kenya has developed over 10,500km of roads in the last eight years. Upscaling it will improve mobility and connectivity key to increased business, work opportunities and improved livelihoods.

Reforms for efficiency

Thirdly, it is focused on sustaining the implementation of various reforms targeted at enhancing efficiency in the delivery of public services, through the greater rollout of Huduma Kenya based services and other legal and institutional reforms to address the software, even as we invest in infrastructure.

Fourthly, it is focused on investing in ICT and digital infrastructure to facilitate the use of digital platforms in e-commerce/public services that can create more opportunities and hence improved livelihoods.

Fifthly, it is focused on expanding the role of the private sector in the economy including financing infrastructure projects through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs).

The Government has undertaken enormous reforms to attract private players into the PPP framework. First, the PPP Act 2021 has streamlined how PPP programmes can be undertaken, by reducing the approval processes and setting clear timelines for projects under PPPs.

Role of PPPs

Secondly, it has strengthened the institutional framework by elevating the PPP Unit to the Directorate under National Treasury.

Thirdly, set up Public Investment Management and PPP Planning framework and strengthened coordination between PPP and Public debt management offices.

Fourthly, the budget statement has elevated the role of PPPs in funding public projects, supporting the private sector and narrowing the fiscal deficits being experienced currently.

PPPs have many benefits applicable to our current situation: They create room for greater finance and resource mobilization for projects off balance sheet.

Debts accruing from PPPs are handled by the private players because we need infrastructure to economically recover and be resilient.

PPPs are key to the introduction of greater technology, innovation and expertise in project execution 

The writer is Deputy Director, Enablers, Kenya Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat.

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