Cabinet approves Sh24 billion   for drought relief in counties

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023 01:18 | By
Deputy County Commissioner Teresia Muguro (left) distributes relief food in Kipkomo location, West Pokot county on March 6. - KNA

The Cabinet yesterday allocated Sh23.96 billion for interventions in food assistance, water, livestock, peace and security for the period running April to October, amid concerns that the situation is getting worse in counties affected by drought.

“The sectors most affected by the crisis include food security, livestock, water, crops production, education, among others. The situation has been complicated by the rising frequency of insecurity in Turkana, Samburu, Baringo, West Pokot, Laikipia, Marsabit, Isiolo and Garissa counties,” read a dispatch from State House.

During the meeting, the Cabinet also granted approval for the government to pursue a negotiated commercial settlement for the commercial contracts and financing agreements for the Arror, Kimwarer and Itare Dams.

The National Treasury was asked to engage the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and provide the relevant information on the public interest implications arising from the huge financial exposure of the government, arising from its unmet obligations in respect of commercial and financing agreements for the three dam projects.

Court cases

This, said the Cabinet, will facilitate a stay of the ongoing international arbitration proceedings and a negotiated commercial settlement.

The government also approved the appropriate restructuring of the government of Kenya outstanding debt service obligations under the Financing Agreements for the three dams.

Last week, President William Ruto announced that Kenya and Italy had agreed to restart the construction of the three dams.

He said that the parties had agreed on a framework to settle all outstanding court cases revolving around the stopping of the projects.

“I am happy to report to the nation that the Kenyan and Italian governments have agreed and in fact the process of sorting out the matters in court has already started in earnest. We have agreed the restart of these projects is not only urgent but also a priority and necessary because it is going to supply water to many towns in Nakuru, Kericho and many other areas in Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet,” Ruto said.

The government intends to clear the court issues in the next one month so that it can be able to start the process of negotiating restructuring of financing.

“Hopefully, we should be able to go on with construction of these dams in a matter of months… that is the agreement that the two countries have agreed on,” said Ruto.

At the same time, the Cabinet also approved the Privatisation Bill, 2023, which will repeal the Privatisation Act, 2005.

According to the Cabinet, this ushers in a more facilitative and non-inhibiting legal and policy framework that will oversee privatisation in the country.

“The proposed Bill gives power to the Treasury to privatise public-owned enterprises without the bureaucratic approvals of Parliament,” the Cabinet resolved.

It also stated that the sale of non-strategic, non-performing public entities will help improve the upgrade of infrastructure and the delivery of services to Kenyans.

“The privatisation will tame the demand for government resources and generate more funds to drive the government’s development agenda,” read the statement.

The Cabinet also approved establishment of the National Alternative Dispute Resolution Policy, which is expected to go a long way in decongesting the courts.

It will also give the public an opportunity to resolve disputes through means fashioned to respond to the real and practical world.

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