, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 21 – The government has signed two loan agreements amounting to Sh1.9 billion with Belgium for the improvement of health services in the country.
Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich says Sh500 million will be used for a clinical and radiology services project while Sh33 million will be used to supply a complete set of diagnostic laboratory to eight district hospitals.
A further Sh1 billion will be used for clinical waste disposal management and will include the installation of medical waste disposal machines in Nairobi and other strategically located cities in Kenya.
“The government of Kenya will continue to ensure that the resources that we receive from our development partners will be utilised well for the intended purpose only,” said Rotich.
“The ministry of Health is expected to ensure that the implementation of this project is fast tracked to ensure that Kenyans can benefit from these facilities.”
The Belgian Ambassador to Kenya Roxane De Bilderling said that the agreement will further foster the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
“This type of instruments for concessional loans in infrastructural projects has been used by the Belgian government in partnership with the Kenyan government for some time now, and we are very happy with the results,” she said.
Meanwhile, Rotich has defended the government’s plan to have the country’s debt ceiling increased from Sh1.2 trillion to Sh2.5 trillion.
He said the proposed new benchmark is aimed at accommodating the already made commitments from financial partners to fund Kenya’s development projects over the next six years.
He has allayed fears that the State borrows carelessly, since it is protected by the ceiling.
He also said increasing the ceiling for foreign debt would be beneficial for Kenyans as reduced government borrowing in the domestic market would lower the cost of bank loans.
“The advantage of that is that we would be getting cheaper money from outside especially from development partners to finance infrastructure, in the absence of which we would resort to borrowing domestically which would have a higher impact on interest rates,” he explained.
The Cabinet on Thursday approved a proposal to raise the debt ceiling, although the Budget and Appropriations Committee of the National Assembly has voiced opposition to it.