With 10 years left to deliver the vision, which retired President Kibaki designed back in 2008 against tightening budgets and huge debt, the government is changing tact in seeking to deliver Vision 2030 projects.
Newly appointed Vision 2030 Director General Isaac Mwige says they are making short-term plans with measurable outcomes and finding ways to ensure changes in the political scene do not affect the homestretch for delivering on the flagship initiatives.
The development strategy has been a victim of priority changes due to political transitions at both the national and county levels.
According to Kenya Public Expenditure Review published by the World Bank, 40 percent of the projects became white elephants during the transition to devolution with 195 irrigation schemes initiated in the second term of Kibaki, not being allocated funds by county governments.
The World Bank has called for cancellation of incomplete infrastructure projects worth Sh1.1 trillion saying that Kenya which only set aside Sh516 billion for all development projects is not likely to fund the 522 dormant ones which are increasing financing pressure and pilling up pending bills.
Mr Mwige says when there is a change of guard, government usually have different priorities, but the Vision 2030 secretariat and the national government are now trying to streamline project delivery to ensure they are planned for and executed within a specific timeframe so they are not disrupted by political process.
“We want to do only things that have a direct impact and outcome not general things. We will be launching the review of the strategic plan before end of the year,” Mr Mwige said in an interview with Smart Business last week.
Discipline in government spending led by Treasury and Planning, Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani is trying to make sure that there is nothing which gets started, and which becomes a pending bill or become a stalled project.
Mr Mwige said the secretariat wants to ensure that not only is the project planned, the budget is provided for and is expected to be finished within the financial year the funds are released.
“This is not just at the national level, even the county level is being guided from the national government so that the wildness, which was there in the first terms is being curtailed from the budgeting process. When government is thinking about building a big thing here it is cascaded down to the counties which provide the supporting networks to what the central government is doing,” said Mr Mwige.
The 2030 Vision plans are reviewed through medium-term plans. The country is currently on the third plan and is mostly focused on the Big Four agenda of trade manufacturing, universal healthcare and agriculture and affordable housing.
The third medium term plan has set out to deliver 181 flagship projects that has seen completion of berth 1 at Lamu Port, completion of SGR Phase II from Nairobi to Naivasha, direct flights to USA from Kenya by Kenya Airways and 442.7MW was added to the grid of which 310MW was from Lake Turkana Wind Power; 82.7MW was from Olkaria V Unit 1 and 50MW from REREC Garissa Solar Plant.
This third term plan has, however, been affected by coronavirus pandemic and the secretariat is making a review for 2021 to 2022 to align the plan with the new realities.
“Focus on medium-term plan three has taken a knock by Covid-19 and so in the current environment we are seeking to expand investment in healthcare because that is the current problem. Covid-19 is not something that will happen and disappear we are going to live with it,” Mr Mwige said.
He said his focus will target the youth by ensuring they are at the centre of delivering government projects from procurement and local supplies to skills development and transfer.
At the regional level where Kenya’s vision sought to enhance the Northern and Lapsset corridors as strategic transit routes with a mix of rail, road, pipeline, ports, and inland water ways, have come under threat with political re-alignments.
Competition from Tanzania’s Central Corridor saw the country form the Coalition of the Willing alliance with Uganda and Rwanda and pledge massive projects along the transit route.
The alliance with Rwanda and Uganda faltered even as some of the projects have been hit by lack of funding, delays, changes in regional priorities and new political realignments that saw Tanzania secure big infrastructure deals with the two countries for pipeline and SGR leaving Kenya with a huge burden of costly projects whose viability is at risk.
Mr Mwige said Kenya will forge on with the Vision to develop ports and connecting infrastructure and make sure that our clearing process is efficient.
“We should not worry as Kenya because we have huge advantages over our peers. What we need to do is install our capacity, we do our work the way it is supposed to be done we make sure our port is efficient make sure they are working well and then the money will come. Then the Ugandans and Tanzanians will make their own business choices,” he said.