Kenya’s Privatization Drive

Written by on October 11, 2023

By Moffat Ratemo

Kenya’s national treasury has taken a step toward privatization by listing 25 state entities for potential transfer to the private sector. Notably, ten state corporations have already been identified and are awaiting a cabinet paper for approval, as confirmed by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u.

The identified state entities include the Kenya Pipeline Company, Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Meat Commission, Consolidated Bank, and the Development Bank of Kenya. Additionally, five state sugar millers – Chemilil, Sony, Nzoia, Miwani, and Muhoroni – are slated for leasing. Furthermore, several government-owned hotels are set to undergo privatization, considering the government’s current stake.

The government also intends to reduce its shareholding in KenGen, East Africa Portland Cement, and the National Bank of Kenya, reflecting a broader push for privatization.

This development comes in the wake of President William Ruto’s recent assent to the Privatization Bill 2023, transforming it into an Act, during his tour in the Nyanza region. This move sets the stage for the long-awaited privatization agenda to move forward.

President Ruto, while commenting on the bill, stated, “I have made a commitment that between five and 10 public enterprises that are mature should be listed in the next 12 months. I expect that the private sector will work with the capital markets so that we can have private sector companies to also list at the stock exchange”

Despite the momentum in the Privatization Act 2023, opposition leaders have raised concerns and doubts about the planned privatization program. They have termed it a form of state capture that could potentially lack adequate parliamentary oversight.

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