UoN plans to develop idle land in hunt for revenue


University of Nairobi vice-chancellor Stephen Kiama. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The University of Nairobi (UoN) is looking for investors to help it develop and unlock value in its idle land and other assets in a bid to diversify revenue streams and stem cash flow hitches.

Vice-chancellor Stephen Kiama told Business Daily that the university is at advanced talks with the National Treasury on how to roll out the partnerships.

“We are looking at what is it we can do to invest in our asset base,” Prof Kiama said.

“We are already engaging with Treasury on how they can help us to do that and make money out of our asset base. This is part of reversing the current cash problems that we have been having.”

Prof Kiama did not however disclose whether the varsity is looking at leasing or selling parts of the land, adding that the decision will be pegged on the outcome of the discussions with the Treasury.

UoN like other public universities is faced with distressed cash-flows forcing it to default on the payment of taxes, statutory obligations, insurance premiums for staff and piling pending bills.

The move to go for idle land and other assets whose value remains undisclosed comes amid calls by the Auditor-General for public universities to diversify revenue sources and cut over-reliance on cash transfers from the Treasury and parallel degree courses whose enrollment has dipped over the years.

UoN has vast idle land across most of its campuses in the city that include Kikuyu and Lower Kabete campuses, offering it an opportunity to turn the large tracts into money-making ventures.

Funding for the UoN just like other universities has been hit by a sharp fall in the number of self-sponsored students in recent years due to a drop in the number of students scoring the mandatory entry C+ grade in KCSE.

It has outstanding remittances to the Kenya Revenue Authority, the National Hospital Insurance Fund, the National Social Security Fund, pension schemes, insurance companies, Saccos and banks.

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