Do not dictate to us what projects to undertake, Uhuru to foreigners
President Uhuru Kenyatta says African countries have the capacity to determine their infrastructural needs and that they understand the priorities of their people and should not be dictated upon on what projects to implement.
“Please, we know what we need, we know what we must do. We are no longer going to be the dumping ground for products and goods while our people have no jobs, while our people suffer in poverty,” said President Kenyatta.
Responding to an article in The Economist that cited World Bank criticising Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) as uneconomical, President Kenyatta said Kenya is best placed to know the projects that have direct impact on its people.
The President spoke Monday during the Infrastructure Summit at State House, Nairobi.
President Kenyatta pointed out that similar criticism was directed to the Asian Tigers but they ignored it and now they are among the fastest growing nations in the world.
“The now fully grown Asian Tigers are probably among the most prosperous nations in the world. Yet, they ignored the World Bank and ignored the IMF. Today, they actually have their own development bank.”
The Head of State said Kenya is keen to move to the next level and this can only be achieved if the country makes appropriate investments in infrastructure.
President Kenyatta welcomed the summit, saying it provided a platform for positive engagement between Government, private sector and the people of Kenya on what is happening in the infrastructure sector.
“This is part and parcel of being transparent, being open and allowing Kenyans an opportunity to engage with their Government and various agencies on what is being done with their money.”
“The only way we can know we are doing the right thing or not is through an engagement such as this.”
Saying infrastructure projects are expensive ventures, the President emphasised that those in charge must ensure prudent utilisation of resources in the sector.
On efficiency at the Port of Mombasa, President Kenyatta directed the newly appointed Managing Director, Catherine Mturi, to rid the institution of corruption to ensure its smooth operations.
Speaking at the Summit, Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary, James Macharia, assured that the Government’s road annuity program is on course.
The Cabinet Secretary said by the end of the year construction of 7,000 kilometres of roads will be underway.
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