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Minister wants Kenya to think big

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 15 – Kenya needs to urgently start thinking of and implementing ‘big’ ideas that will assist it to realise its dreams of transforming into an industrialised state, Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya said on Tuesday.

While decrying the short term measures that the country has made so far, the Minister said only by planning for big projects would the country move forward with its development agenda.

“We have to plan for multibillion-shilling projects. Sometimes we come up with so many projects trying to balance out. We stretch so thinly and after one or two years, we outlive some of these projects,” he complained.

For instance, he argued, if Kenya undertook to pump clean water from Lake Victoria – its fresh water lake – to areas such as Kericho or Mt Elgon, this would be enough to sort out once and for all the perennial water shortages.

“As planners, we must come up with big projects that can sustain the population for quite sometime, even beyond the 2030 deadline,” he added.

He said there was also the need to formulate legislation that can support the planning process.

Urging the government to adopt models used by other countries, the minister said bodies such as National Planning Commission to guide them in this respect should be established.

“Sometimes it’s very difficult to enforce the planning unless you have some legislation backing it. This is an issue that we have to undertake because that’s where every country is moving to,” he emphasised.
Speaking during the launch of the ministry’s Strategic Plan and Service Delivery Charter, Mr Oparanya also called for the urgent and permanent resolution of the current food, energy and climate change crises which have caused variances in planning.

The lack of effective planning has seen the country divert billions of shillings meant for development towards relief programs and this is expected to strain economic recovery.

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He appealed to technical staff that produce various reports such as the Economic Surveys, Public Expenditure Review and Annual Progress Report on the Flagship projects of the Vision 2030 to do so in a timely manner so that their views and recommendations can be taken into account by the relevant institutions.

Notwithstanding the myriad of challenges such as limited funding, inadequate human resource capacity, the minister said they would strive to play its role of coordinating national development planning processes and providing leadership in the implementation of economic policies in the country.

To achieve this goal, Mr Oparanya said there was need to deepen the various devolved programs such as “Kazi kwa Vijana’, Constituency Development Funds and Economic Stimulus Package Funds.

“This is the more reason why we must pursue the proposal to establish a ‘Constituency Resource Management Framework’. We want to appeal for cooperation and support in order to build the required synergy to move forward,” he added.

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