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'Pending law frustrating development'

THE COUNTIES
By WAINAINA NDUNG'U | June 26th 2015

Pending legislation at the National Assembly that will spell out how counties can borrow loans is slowing infrastructure development.

The National Government Loan Guarantee Act passed in 2012 allows counties to borrow money from external donors, but only with the permission of Treasury. Currently, counties can't do this because there are no guiding regulations.

Council of Governors (CoG) chairman Peter Munya said counties were unable to acquire substantial financing outside the country at low interest because Parliament had not passed the procedures.

"The Meru county government, for instance, wants to build 300km of low-cost tarmac roads in the next three years using cheap Malaysian technology. The plan would allow equal distribution of roads in the county's nine constituencies, at 30km each," said Mr Munya.

He said the county had opened negotiations with Exim Bank of Malaysia for a loan payable in 10 years at five per cent, with a grace period of two years. But the current law allows only the national government to borrow.

"If you ask Kenyans from any corner of this country, they will tell you their biggest problems are the poor roads. Our dream is to tarmac all roads in the county," said Munya.

According to the governor, it would take Kenya 200 years for some parts of the country to benefit from tarmacked roads if the country insists on using conventional technology.

He said Probase Technology Inc had promised to build a kilometre range for between Sh15 million and Sh22 million, against the normal Sh30 million and Sh80 million per kilometre.

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