PM shifts graft focus to private sector

November 4, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 4 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Thursday challenged the private sector to break ranks with corruption for the country to win the battles against the vice.

Speaking during the official opening of the Sankara Hotel in Nairobi, the Premier argued that it was unfair for Kenyans to focus their corruption spotlight on government players alone as the fight against graft required a concerted effort between public service and private sector players.

He said that those in the public sector should not be the only ones that were crucified for their misdeeds.

“They say that it always takes two to tango and it is not right to all the times keep the search light on the civil servants. These servants don’t always have the money; that money first comes from the private sector and then it is scooped out of the public sectors,” he said.

Mr Odinga also reassured investors of the government’s commitment in improving the country’s infrastructure and refuted claims that the modernisation plans of all major highways had come to a halt due to lack of finances.

Local reports had indicated that the World Bank had declined to provide monetary support for the ongoing road construction in the country.

“I want to say that the World Bank is our partner in development but it does not own this country. This country is owned by Kenyans and our projects will not stall because a partner has not come on board with us,” he said.

He further observed that majority of the projects in the country were funded by Kenyans: “I want it to be known that all these (up to 93 percent) are being financed by revenue raised locally. We only borrow seven percent of our development budget.”

He also promised that the government was in the final stages of plugging all loopholes that existed and created room for corruption.

“We have identified corruption as a menace we have to deal with if we are to surge ahead  and we are facing it head on but we need work closely with each other particularly on this war” Mr Odinga said.

The Premier further informed guests in attendance that the government was cutting down the bureaucratic red tapes in public systems in order to ease transaction in government offices.

Mr Odinga added that the government would continue putting in measures that would facilitate the manner in which local and foreign investors conducted their businesses in the country.

He also said that the hotel based in Nairobi’s Westlands was a milestone in the tourism sector whose earning he projected could almost triple within the next two years.

Mr Odinga said feasibility studies into the tourism industry had projected that the country required more accommodation facilities to meet the three million target of tourists expected in the country by the year 2012.

Former Attorney General Charles Njonjo who is the hotel’s chairman expressed his gratitude to Kenyans for the support they had accorded the hotel.

“When we set out to create Sankara, one of our key focuses was to create vibrant experiences that would delight the local market. The city has embraced our concept with enthusiasm and excitement,” he said.


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