Cabinet approves privatisation of Development Bank, five other state-owned hotels

President William Ruto

President William Ruto addresses Kenyans living in Tokyo, Japan on February 7, 2024.

Photo credit: PCS

What you need to know:

  • Also earmarked for privatisation are Kenya Safari Lodges and Hotels Limited (incorporating Mombasa Beach Hotel, Ngulia Safari Lodge, and Voi Safari Lodge), Golf Hotel Limited, Sunset Hotel Limited, Mt. Elgon Lodge Limited and Kabarnet Hotel Limited.

The Cabinet has approved the sale of six more State Owned Enterprises following a Cabinet meeting chaired by President William Ruto at State House, bringing the total number of entities set to be privatised to 17.

The six enterprises include privatization of the Development Bank of Kenya.

“The decision (on Development Bank) by our nation’s apex policy-making organ was informed by the fact the Bank had fully transitioned into a fully-fledged depositing taking commercial bank regulated by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK),” a Cabinet despatch said.

Others earmarked for privatisation include Kenya Safari Lodges and Hotels Limited (incorporating Mombasa Beach Hotel, Ngulia Safari Lodge, and Voi Safari Lodge), Golf Hotel Limited, Sunset Hotel Limited, Mt. Elgon Lodge Limited and Kabarnet Hotel Limited.

According to the cabinet, the move is expected to stimulate the expansion of the country’s hospitality industry and grow the individual units through private sector investment.

“This move aligns with the ongoing rebound of the tourism sector that has been buoyed by the Visa-Free entry regime in Kenya, and promises to deliver increased employment and business opportunities in both the divested enterprises as well as across the entire tourism sector,” the dispatch said.

This comes at the backdrop of the initial move taken by the Kenya Kwanza administration seeking to privatise the 11 entities, which includes Kenya Literature Bureau (KLB), Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Kenya Seed Company Limited, Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) and New Kenya Co-operative Creameries.

Others are the National Oil Company of Kenya (NOCK), Numerical Machining Complex, Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers Limited, and Rivatex East Africa Limited.

The move to privatise the initial 11 parastatals has been halted by the High Court, following a case by Mr Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), who argued that the entities were of strategic national interests, and Kenyans should vote in a referendum, whether or not to sell them.

The case is still ongoing. 

The cabinet also sanctioned the digitisation of the entire education system, spanning primary school education to tertiary and university levels in the spirit of keeping with the government’s digital transformation agenda.

“This intervention aims to address the governance challenges within our education system that has led to parallel accounts, charging of unauthorised school fees, diversion of the exchequer releases on capitation and other fraudulent activities that undermine the integrity of the education system, leading to the enrolment of ghost students.”

On addressing climate change, the cabinet has ratified the implementation of the Financing Locally Led Climate Action Programme (FLLoCA), which will be executed in partnership with development partners.

The plan is expected to support Kenya's transition to a low carbon and climate-resilient development pathway, which will be achieved by catalyzing integrated climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience actions across the entire economy.

Decongesting Nairobi

The Cabinet also approved the use of Nairobi Intelligent Transport System (ITS) to address the frequent congestion in the city.

The dispatch from the cabinet states that the technology will be used, hence replacing the traffic police in the various junctions within the town, as well as the County traffic officers, well known as Kanjo.

“Cabinet approved the implementation of the Nairobi Intelligent Transport System (ITS) Establishment and Junction Improvement Project. The Phase III of this seminal project is expected to revolutionise traffic management in Kenya, eliminating human interfaces in traffic control, and streamlining the payment of penalties for traffic offences,” dispatch reads.

The cabinet said that the move has been prompted by the state of the city, being the Capital City, where meetings of international levels are being held at.

The cabinet has also considered and endorsed the hosting of regional, continental, and global conventions/meetings.

Some of the meetings that the country is expected to host this year includes the Sixth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6), the African Minerals Geosciences Centre (AMGC) Policy Organ Meeting, the Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre (GIEC) events organised in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union and the Network of Africa Data Protection Authorities (NADPA) Conference, 2024.

Kelvin Kiptum eulogy

During the meeting, the cabinet eulogised the world marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum, and his coach Garvais Hakizimana following a grisly road accident that occurred on February 11, killing both.

“Kiptum was a sporting powerhouse whose record shattering achievements inspired millions around the world. He remains the only human in history to run a marathon under two hours and one minute. With his 2:00.35 time, he set as a new world record in Chicago on 8th October, 2023.”

The government has said that it will support Kiptum’s family in according him a befitting heroic farewell.