PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP: THE INFRASTRUCTURE GAP By Scheaffer Okore @scheafferoo

What are Public Private partnerships?
a) These are contractual arrangements of varied nature where the two parties share rights and responsibilities in the duration of the contract regarding the provision or construction of a project/service.
b) A way of contracting for development and maintenance of an infrastructure service using the private sector innovation, skills and leveraging for finance.

Statistics show that 1.2 billion people live without electricity; 1 billion people live more than 2km from an all weather road, 750 million people lack access to safe drinking water and 60% of the world population lack Internet access. This imbalance is what is known as the infrastructure gap.
An infrastructure gap exists when the services are of poor quality and unreliable for example, worn out sewage system. This creates a gap that affects the growth, development and competitiveness of a government in the global market.
In Africa the roads affect the price and quality of produced goods as it takes longer to transport them to the required consumer. The greatest challenge faced by developing and middle-income states are the high demand for quality, affordable and service-oriented infrastructure.
Finding a balance between the Private and Public sector is a constant requirement in order to bridge the infrastructure gap. Infrastructure involves road, ports, airports, energy, water, telecommunications, sewage systems, hospitals and other social and health-care facilities.
PPPs can be either foreign or domestic. They are not only confined to large-scale players. For example, In Paraguay there is a small-scale PPP agreement known as “Los Aguateros’, in charge of the provision of water.
PPP contracts may involve:
B.O.T: Build, Operate and Transfer
D.B.F.O: Design, Build, Finance and Operate
B.O.O: Build, Own and Operate (Not returned to the public)
PPPs should not be confused with Privatization. Privatization involves the permanent transfer of a previously public owned assets to the private sector/party whereas PPPs involve a continuing role of the public sector as a partner.
Some states have gone further and renamed their PPPs to avoid confusion i.e. in Mexico they’re called projects for provision of services and in Peru they’re Legal framework as co-financed concessions.
Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) are however not appropriate for all infrastructure projects. For instance, money printing should remain in the hands of the government.

TYPES OF PPPs
1. User free PPPs/ Green field concessions/ Whole life costing:
The public authority grants the private party the right to design, build (refurbish or expand) maintain, operate and finance an infrastructure owned by government. The agreement/contract can be between 25-30 years. These often happens in contracts for roads, railways, power, water, gas, telecommunication, ports and airports.
Benefits are:
 Focus on service delivery It allows the public sector to focus on other objectives and reduces the constraints as responsibility of the project is on the private sector until it’s handed over.
 Innovation Specifying outputs rather than inputs provide opportunity for innovation, as bidding done by private parties is competitive. This benefits the consumer.
 Asset utilization Private parties use a single facility to support multiple revenue streams, reducing cost to the public.
 Mobilizing of additional funding Private companies can provide alternative sources of financing as government may face financial constraints.
 Accountability It makes it easier to hold the private company/party responsible in case of unmet requirements.
2. Availability based PPPs:
The private party designs and finances a project and the public authority (not the end consumer) makes payment to the private party. This payment is made when a service, not an asset is made available. For instance:
• Power purchase agreements where the private investors build a power generation plant and contract to sell the electricity generated to a publicly owned power utility (Private distribution company)
• Operation of waste management services.
The mechanism to determine the level of payment for the service is set out in considerable detail in the project agreement.

ROLE OF PPPs IN INFRASTRUCTURE
 Tap private capital markets to finance badly required infrastructure
 Transfer resources to alleviate immediate government budget constraints
 Incentivize real efficiency gains, transformation and allow better output from input
For successful PPP contract good governance principle must be in place in order to ensure that the priorities of government and/or the general public are met: The criterion to be followed include:
Prioritize the people; Projects must at all time be about the people after all they’re the ones who’ll benefit so it must be beneficial to them.
User needs; Projects must meet the needs of the final consumer. You thus don’t construct a road if the people require a hospital or bridge.
Economically warranted; Projects should be economically viable and affordable in that it can’t be so overly priced that expands the debt margin.
Legal framework; The legal framework through which the contract is based on must be at all times immune to irregularities and illegalities.
Transparency; During tendering and procurement of the project. It’s mandatory to know who did the tendering, who won the tender and how.
Competence of Government; This is important especially in ensuring that the terms of the contract no matter the duration will be adhered to with the discipline it requires.
Access risks; It’s a requirement that risks involved in the project to either the environment or the people be accessed thoroughly before any agreement is signed.
Involve everyone; Everyone who will be affected or will be consuming the project and services must be involved in the entire process to avoid personal gain of few individuals.
LIMITATIONS OF PPPs
1) They may appear to relieve funding problems while government fiscal commitment to them can be unclear.
2) They provide better project analysis and adoption of innovative ideas and practices but responsibilities for planning and project selection remains with the government.
3) PPPs have unclear fiscal contractual costs.

The awareness and involvement of the public in PPPs is required not just for basic information but greatly to define the role in which they can play in the procurement process. It is thus necessary to understand that governments can and will always borrow money to fund projects that we consume as the citizens in order to bridge the infrastructure gap.
This however means that Kenya being a middle income state can borrow more money easily as the default in payment of this debt is passed on to the tax payer.
The taxpayer here is known as unremunerated credit insurance for the state (the same as security required by a bank before issuance of a loan).
This makes it a necessity that all citizens be aware of PPPs, their role and how they not only bridge the infrastructure gap but also influence budget allocations and priorities of states. PPPs are now a major source of procuring public service and not just a means of sourcing finance for infrastructure.

I am ashamed of us By Scheaffer Okore @scheafferoo

I have a fascination with human behavior. What drives a seemingly normal person to cause mayhem? I have an unquenchable thirst to fully comprehend what triggers a grown man to prey on a male child. It is without doubt that a boy is born male and grows into a man. To one day protect, provide and lead not just himself but another or his family.
Genetically boys are wired differently and their difference is a unique source of strength and character. As a female I do not entirely know what it means to be male but what I do know, is what it means to be a child. Being carefree and innocent. Being curious and playful. Being inquisitive and energetic. Everything is in sound and color.
As a child the world is a beautiful place and everyone is equal. Society today suffers not only from moral decay but the tragedy of childhoods cut too short for most children. For every child, there is no distinction between feeling safe and being. What then happens when a child (boy) is robbed of all his innocence? All the joy and wonder of being a child is entwined with being innocent.
How do we reconcile a child who looks at society as the cause of his indescribable beastly act? We can be careless, unconcerned and not bothered about numerous things but one thing we cannot at any particular time ignore or not value is the safety of our children. This isn’t just a plight for those with children, rather for everyone because you were once a child and as a child you had a right to be protected.
We are failing in our core role as society and I point a finger at myself for not caring enough for the children. Ideally it takes a village to raise a child. This broadly implies that I am responsible as a member of the extended society to look out for your child. Children look up to us yet we are too busy seeking personal fulfillment to bother with something which touches us directly. I am a shamed of us.
What then becomes of the boy psychically and psychologically? What happens when the person who violently took from him that which we cant give back is a man- a man as he will one day grow up to be?
Rape is rape and its effects are long lasting and deeply placed. The defilement of a small boy isn’t just about one victim. This breeds an entire generation of men who are already wounded before they can grow up to become our protectors. Before they can take their place as the men we’re in dire need of. I am ashamed of us.
How is it that the men who are to stand up and call out the men in our young boys are the same ones destroying their very essence? For this young boy he will never look at men the same way. Being a male himself, his entire view and expectation of himself changes completely. It’s indecipherable to him how someone who is just like him can harm him without any show of mercy. Time they say, heals all wounds but time can sometimes be the greatest escape until the past claws itself out into the present.

#SodomyIsRape
#RapeIsRape

Corruption: Our Law’s Loose Grip By Ken Ogembo

It is now be evident that the fight against corruption cannot be battled only in a court of law or by establishing a single oversight body to cover the over twenty ministries and other state bodies. There is a deliberate lack of good will, which will incapacitate any given single department or commission.

The fight against corruption in Kenya is too technical for any given commission; hence, there is need for a change in strategies. I suggest the establishment of a corruption watchdog unit in every ministry. The mandate should be to analyse corruption risk areas and take the required measures rather than the cliché advisory role. Unless otherwise, the looters may even deepen their loot as we are currently experiencing.

From the look of things, almost every project in government is scandalous. One wonders why no arrests have been made despite the 2014 police recruitment being marred by allegations of corruption. Of course, there is the usual promise of ongoing investigations. This is yet another closed file and Kenyans are supposed to forget and move on, only to be reminded by the occurrence of a new graft scandal.

The president then came up with a list of over 150 individuals alleged to be corrupt. However, the anti-graft body mandated to probe into those allegations is currently grounded. I feel that this may just be another PR (public relations) exercise. The persons named in the presidents ‘list of shame’ are still in office while the anti-graft body stays grounded. Hardly thirty of the over 150 people have been prosecuted. Even so, many of those cases do not meet the minimal threshold for prosecution. They thus remain to be mere allegations whereas the public continues to lose confidence in the integrity of public institutions.

Contravention of chapter six of the constitution of Kenya is common, with chairpersons of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission often assuming office despite having allegations of impropriety and/or pending court cases. Since the establishment of the commission, Kenyans are yet to see any tangible fulfillment of the its mandate. The trend has been to embattle its chair, rendering its work impossible. Mumo Matemu’s exit is but another well-calculated strategy to brainwash the nation.

In Kenya, the political class (in both government and opposition) often have interests in corrupt transactions; thus diminishing any chances that they will expose each other. The person most likely to protect these interests has higher chances of becoming the next chair. Otherwise, the cycle continues.

The fight against corruption in Kenya clearly lacks political good will. The president needs ensure that due process is followed in all public institutions. Those implicated in corruption must be made to account for their wrong doing. Why waste time ‘shaming’ people he hired and has the mandate to dismiss?

Kenyans must also understand that corruption has advanced to a point where the electorate must play a role. Let us not allow people mentioned in any scandal to address us in any public forum. Instead, we should insist that they first clear their names without going back to tribal cocoons. Since corruption is neither a political contest between the government and opposition nor a tribal war, let us not allow corrupt individuals to allege that they are being ‘hunted’.

Also, since most of these scandals seem to have by-passed the national cabinet, I see a need for the public to be granted access to cabinet’s minutes.

Lastly, religious organizations need to be consistently vocal in the fight against corruption.

Is South Sudan forgotten? By Scheaffer Okore.

More than a million people have fled their homes in South Sudan since fighting broke out between rebel forces and the government. President Salva Kiir blamed this on a coup attempt by a section of soldiers loyal to his deputy, Riek Machar.

This could be the beginning of yet another war gradually bringing Africa’s youngest state to its knees. After more than two decades of war, South Sudan seceded from Omar Al-bashir’s Northern Sudan; becoming Africa’s newest state.

However, South Sudan has had numerous setbacks in her quest for political autonomy and national development. Ethnic violence has escalated between Kiir’s Dinka tribe who are the majority Machar’s Nuer who are the second largest tribe. These violent tensions continue to frustrate political stability despite the numerous peace agreements signed between the two. There is thus raising doubt on the commitment of these political leaders in attaining peace.

Not only has the country lost hundreds of civilians to the clashes, South Sudan also faces an influx of diseases and the continued violation of women as well as dire food shortages and a disastrous drought.

Regardless, the occurrences in this young nation have ceased to raise headlines. East Africa seems to be ignorant of the spillover effects being experienced by the rest of the region. If the war continues, the East African region’s economic output could begin to experience negative consequences.

It is also important to remember that South Sudan has already put in a formal request to join the East African Community. This thus begs a simple yet equally complex set of questions.

  • Why are East African states not pushing for the political stability of South Sudan?
  • Who is benefiting from the instability in South Sudan?
  • Are the leaders of South Sudan bloodthirsty warmongers?
  • #IsSouthSudanForgotten?