MPs to scrutinise Sh425bn Uhuru-China deals

October 9, 2013 4:12 pm
President Kenyatta shakes hands with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Photo/ FILE
President Kenyatta shakes hands with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Photo/ FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 9 – Parliament will get the opportunity to scrutinize the Sh425 billion financing agreements signed between Kenya and China during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s State visit to Beijing in August.

The Leader of Majority Coalition Aden Duale assured MPs the agreements would be brought to Parliament for approval before they are implemented.

This is after Minority Coalition MPs challenged the Majority Leader to declare the exact amount that the financing deals cover.

Deputy Minority Whip Chris Wamalwa, Suba MP John Mbadi, Wajir County Woman Representative Fatuma Ali and Karachuonyo MP James Rege noted that the money borrowed will be paid back by Kenyans and they have the right to know how much they will be paying back.

“I really doubt if you can go to China, stay for all those days only to negotiate for Sh15 billion to be advanced in five years, really, for a country like Kenya. That should be a personal loan of John Mbadi or Homa Bay County,” said Mbadi.

Wamalwa and Mbadi claimed that the Chinese deals signed by the Head of State will raise the country’s external debt position to Sh1.26 trillion up from the Sh843.6 billion as at the year ending June 2013.

Wamalwa argued that the government cannot borrow more from external sources unless Parliament scales up the Sh1.2 trillion ceiling that was set in January this year.

“We don’t want to mortgage our children and our future generations, in our role as the National Assembly, we wanted to know this for the purposes of planning,” said the Kiminini MP who had requested for the statement.

The Leader of Majority Coalition had told the House that on the trip to the Far East, President Kenyatta secured a grant, a loan and a concessional loan worth a total Sh16.02 billion.

“There were huge investments that went between the Kenyan private sector and the financial institutions in China. There were many outgoing projects funded by many Chinese banks and the government but I want to confirm for you that the Jubilee government does not make a trip for Sh15 billion,” said Duale.

Duale said the loan and grants will be spent on energy projects, a standard gauge railway linking the port of Mombasa in east Africa’s biggest economy to its border town of Malaba, meant to provide faster access from Kenya’s port to markets in the region.

Suna East MP Junet Mohammed and Kitutu Chache MP Richard Onyonka expressed concern that the deals include allowing Chinese firms to import construction materials and human labour for the projects which will deny Kenyans business opportunities and employment opportunities.

Onyonka had alleged that there was an agreement to have 250,000 Chinese nationals come to Kenya to perform manual jobs that should otherwise be given to Kenyans but Duale denied the claim.

He said the all projects will be awarded with strictly adhere to the Public Procurement Act.

The Majority Leader said the loan would be paid at the rate of one tenth over 10 years from September 1, 2023 to August 31, 2033.

China will also provide Kenya with a concessional loan for Sh11.8 billion to be used on Nairobi City Centre Extra High Voltage and the 66KV network upgrade and reinforcement project.

Projects would be appraised by the Chinese Export-Import Bank, which would also supervise the use of the loan. The agreement for the loan would remain valid for three years after it is signed.

It would be declared invalid if the two governments fail to agree.


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