State to have a say on county projects
The National government will soon have a say on projects that counties seek to contract private investors through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, should a Treasury proposal be adopted.
The Treasury has proposed amendments to the PPP Act, 2013 to shield counties from incurring debts or losses should such projects fail.
The Public Private Partnership (Amendment) Bill, 2017 says counties will be recognised as distinct contracting authorities for private-public partnerships.
The Amendment Bill further makes provisions for guidelines to be made by the Cabinet secretary to facilitate the manner in which county governments may deal with PPP projects.
Section 7(2) of the Bill states: “Upon receipt of the project lists from the national government contracting authorities, the committee shall consider lists and the recommendations of the Unit and prepare and submit to the Cabinet for approval a national priority list of public private partnership projects.”
It further mandates a county government to implement a PPP project if the project provides value for money.
Counties continue to be frontiers for growth with some devolved units angling to attract billions of shillings in investments, especially through conferences.
Although such investors have indicated that land, security and infrastructure top their worries in such investments, others have blamed procedural bottlenecks in establishing these projects.
In the first year of devolution, several counties struck deals with various investors. But it is important that they work together with the national government to ensure success of the investments.
For instance, in Homa Bay, a proposed Sh56 billion agri-city failed to take off in 2013 after the investor pulled out. The agri-city project which would have seen the construction of roads and low cost housing units collapsed after the investor went underground.
Another US investor disappeared after the county paid Sh110 million as deposit for the construction of some 204km road. Meru County had also in 2015 secured a deal with Blue Sea Energy in 2015 but the wind project never took off.
Last year, PPP Unit director Stanley Kamau told the Senate Finance, Budget and Commerce that the law will require county PPP projects to get Treasury’s approval.