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Thika MP says he fully supports the BBI recommendations but with several reservations.

Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina has expressed his support for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report save for a few reservations which he says should be relooked to help benefit the common mwananchi once implemented.

Speaking at the Bomas of Kenya before the official presentation of the report to the public, Wainaina said he was happy with the fact that the recommendations in the report could be implemented without subjecting the country to a referendum.

“There is a possibility that the recommendations could be passed in Parliament without necessarily subjecting the country to a referendum. Plebiscites in this country have a history of very negative political and ethnic divisions. It is also quite an expensive and time-consuming exercise, which will plunge us to another election mood at the expense of development. I wouldn’t really want that to happen now,” he said.

However, the Thika legislator said that the report fell short of addressing some of the most important aspects of the lives of the common wananchi who is most affected by the high wage bills.

“I can see there are proposals to add more political seats which have heavy financial implication. Nothing much for Wanjiku,” he said.

Wainaina noted that Kenya had of late become a dumping ground for numerous products from other countries. This, he said, was a major reason why most companies in the country were collapsing.

“I would have wanted to see a proposal to re-fence local production to protect them from unfavourable imports and dumping of substandard goods into the country. This will help grow young local companies and create more wealth and jobs,” he noted.

He also took a swipe at the unlevel playing field between local and foreign contractors with the latter getting a fair deal in contracts from both the Kenyan government and their mother countries. 
Wainaina said foreign contractors were better protected and their contract paid in time.

“Local contractors face so many hurdles as compared to their foreign counterparts, forcing some of them to bribe their way to win contracts. Most of our contractors are facing very hard times since getting paid for work done takes years, leaving some of them bankrupt,” he said.

He also cited the issue of high bank interest rates that disadvantaged local contractors, a major hurdle that pushed most of them away from contracts that ended up with foreigners.

“For instance, the Chinese government guarantees loans for their contractors for as low as 2%. This is unlike in Kenya where contractors acquire loans at 24%. With such an imbalance, how do you expect these two to compete for the same contracts? It’s impossible,” he said.

Wainaina said that he would propose a review of the laws to see to it that local investors get bank guarantees of 30 days so that in case the government failed to pay in good time, the contractor would just walk to their bank and get their payment, leaving the banks to follow up with the government. 

This way, he added, there will be more money in circulation, which will translate into more wealth and more job opportunities.

“After this exercise, I will organise with my constituents to deliberate on this document. We will analyse it together with Thika people and make a unified opinion that I will then present in 
Parliament as the view of Thika people on how they want to be governed,” he concluded.

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