Building of Konza city tied to approval of Sh3.7bn budget [Business Daily (Kenya)]
(Business Daily (Kenya) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The first phase of the Konza Technopolis could be started in the second half of the year if the Treasury allocated the Sh3.7 billion required for laying of infrastructure.
ICT Principle Secretary Joseph Tiampati said the ministry was hopeful that Parliament would grant the request for the money in the budget for the financial year starting July.
"The work at Konza has not started mainly due to financing and the long procurement rules that we are supposed to adhere to. We have put a proposal of Sh3.7 billion to Parliament to finance part of the projects in phase one," said Mr Tiampati.
The amount would fund surveying and demarcation of the 400 acres earmarked for phase one, construct roads, a sewerage system, fibre cable and a power substation, and sink boreholes.
The city is planned to occupy 5,000 acres on completion. Mr Tiampati was speaking during the handing over of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) report by the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) giving the greenlight to build infrastructure at the technopolis.
"We shall now commence work on the infrastructure necessary to make phase one a reality, subject to our obtaining other regulatory approvals and compliance with procurement rules," Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) chairman John Ngumi said.
Mr Tiampati said it was they were in talks with the Survey Institute, University of Nairobi and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology to survey the land. This will take five months.
During the 2013/2014 budget the government allocated the ICT ministry Sh773 million for the project.
The first phase of the project, which is estimated to cost $750 million (Sh63.8 billion), was to start in December but lack of funds and delay in passing laws needed to enter into contractual obligations with financiers have stalled progress.
READ: Legal vacuum delays work on Kenya's technology city
Konza technopolis is one of the flagship projects meant to transform Kenya into a newly industrialised country by 2030.
The Konza development plan puts the private sector at the centre of its execution, with the government offering land, legal backing and approving architectural plans.
The government is offering investors a 99-year lease, with a 25-year payment plan. The arrangement is to be reviewed after a decade with the Treasury as the custodian of the land.
The government is also expected to build primary infrastructure leading to and within the technopolis. It has already dug 10 of out of 28 planned boreholes on location and built a police post.
Construction of a power sub-station and a water dam is expected to begin early next year.
The government announced last year that it had struck a deal for concessional loans with Brazil, Russia, India and China to finance roads, railway, telecommunication, water and sewerage networks within the 5,000-acre technology park.
Upon completion, Konza is expected to create 16,200 jobs. The technopolis is expected to host various amenities including ICT research centres, a university complex, offices, residential houses and parks.
Konza is also expected to host foreign and local business process outsourcing (BPO) companies, a science park, a convention centre, shopping malls, hotels, international schools and health facilities.
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