MPs raise confusion on cost of Safaricom tender [Business Daily (Kenya)]
(Business Daily (Kenya) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) MPs last evening voted to compel telecommunications company Safaricom to set aside 30 per cent of a multi-billion shilling security surveillance contract for local firms, even as it emerged that it will cost taxpayers Sh35.9 billion to roll out the project countrywide.
The MPs approved amendments by Majority leader Aden Duale compelling Safaricom and its agents to set aside Sh4.47 billion of the Sh14.9 billion tender for provision of the security system in Nairobi and Mombasa counties to Kenyan-owned firms.
MPs debated the report of the Administration and National Security committee, which investigated the award of the tender for the proposed national surveillance, communication, command and control system for the National Police Service.
The committee chaired by Tiaty MP Asman Kamama said the government would have to pay an extra Sh21 billion to set up the project in the rest of the country.
Safaricom has, however, repeatedly stated that total cost for rolling out the project countrywide is Sh21 billion, and not the amount quoted by MPs.
"It is clear from our submissions to the (Security) committee that it would cost Sh21 billion to roll out to 47 counties," said the Safaricom corporate affairs director Tuesday in reaction to the statements made on the floor of the House.
Mr Duale also amended the report to ensure that the government adheres to all laws governing procurement and contracts and that the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) ensures that frequency assigned to Safaricom is subjected to the approval of the authority's board.
Mr Duale said Safaricom is not wholly owned by Kenyans and that there is need to ensure that Kenyan-owned ICT firms are given some of the contracts for technological and skills transfer.
"Safaricom is owned 40 per cent by Vodafone, a UK firm. To ensure job creation, Safaricom Limited and or their agents who will be charged with the responsibility of rolling out the project will give 30 per cent of the contracts to Kenyan owned companies.
"We are not here to sell mitumba. We must protect the interest of Kenyans," he said.
The Majority leader said local firms must be enabled to compete with companies such as Safaricom.
READ: House team clears Safaricom security tender award
"This House should move further and say every multinational company should forfeit a certain percentage of their shares to locals," he said.
Energy and Communications committee chairman Jamleck Kamau seconded amendments by Mr Duale.
"It is not the business of the House to approve the tenders. We need to give government authority to proceed and implement the project through Safaricom," he said in another amendment that cleared the signing
"We are contemplating amendments to the Energy Act to ensure some part of ownership of oil prospecting contracts is Kenyan. If you go to invest in Dubai, 51 per cent must belong to a local. Saudi Arabia is even worse as it requires that 61 per cent of the company has local ownership for foreigners to invest there," he said.
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