, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 19 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has called for a paradigm shift in procurement policies saying the inherent bureaucratic procedures were stifling development in the country.
The PM expressed concern that in the current procurement policy, valuable time is wasted in lengthy processes of conducting feasibility studies and tendering before a contract is finally awarded, noting this not only raised the cost of projects but also discouraged investors.
"The bureaucrats are letting us down, they want to continue doing things the old way. We must change this policy or we shall be engaging in empty talk," he said.
The PM was speaking on Friday when he chaired the 23rd meeting of the National Economic and Social Council(NESC) at the school of Monetary Studies in Nairobi.
The PM said it was wasteful for instance to commission a Sh800 million study on the number of passengers between Mombasa and Kampala before a standard gauge railway line is constructed between Kenya and Uganda.
Saying it was a well known fact that the number of passengers and the amount of cargo transported from Mombasa to Kampala and beyond surpassed the ability of the current railway line, the PM said the issue of commissioning a study should therefore not have arisen.
Mr Odinga asked politicians to take the lead in initiating the change in the procurement procedures saying the new policies should borrow from best practices worldwide so as to position Kenyans to reap from the new constitutional dispensation.
The PM however acknowledged that construction and improvement of the road network in Nairobi and the country at large was progressing well, noting that other than construction on Thika road, work would also be soon completed on the eastern southern and the northern bypasses.
"We are also still negotiating with the World Bank and Japan on the construction of an overpass on Uhuru Highway and some city link roads to decongest the city," he added.
Mr Odinga noted that the thrust of the NESC meeting was to focus on national minerals and mining policy and a 24-hour economy as a new frontier for Kenya\’s economic development and asked the NESC to develop ideas and come up with strong proposals that would help realise full potentials of the country\’s mineral resources and a 24-hour economy.
He pointed out that one way of enhancing productivity is the cluster approach that provides businesses with benefits they would not have if they operated in isolation.
The PM said many developed and developing countries have adopted this approach to enhance productivity and competitiveness.
He said, "The cluster approach will help increase productivity and efficiency, facilitate new business formation and stimulate and enable innovations."
He added: "The approach offers firms the opportunity to access knowledge, reduce research and development costs, achieve economies of scale, cluster skills and qualify labour force, solve common problems and reduce costs due to geographical proximity and increased interaction with each other.
He expressed confidence that the NESC will contribute to the implementation of the constitution and the realisation of the vision 2030.