University hostel contractors will be picked by year-end, the State has announced, signalling the project was finally coming closer to implementation after years of back-and-forth.
Moi University, University of Embu, and South Eastern Kenya University (Seku) invited bidders to expand student hostels by more than 24,000 beds through public private partnership (PPP).
The bidders including local and international firms have been issued with requests for proposals detailing requirements.
“A successful bidder for each project of the Universities Hostels under the PPP model will be identified by end of 2018 and the projects will reach financial close before the fourth quarter of 2019,” said MMC Africa Law, the lead legal counsel for National Treasury’s PPP Unit.
The investors are expected to design, build, finance and operate the hostels for the life of the contract before the ownership reverts to the universities.
They will, among other things, have furnished rooms, separate study areas and food supply facilities along with tuck shops.
Under the PPP deal, Embu will raise its accommodation capacity by 4,000 beds, Seku will add 5,400 beds while Moi will get an additional 15,000.
Other public universities that have sought the Treasury’s approval for use of PPP model to finance hostels include Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Maseno, Egerton, and Kenya School of Government.
Kenyan universities are grappling with a shortage of hostels, leading to arrangements with developers to house the learners at a near subsidised rent. However, they are more expensive than accommodation provided by the universities, with some going for up to Sh7,500 a month.
The Treasury recently received the green light to tap cash from retirement schemes to fund infrastructure projects under the PPP.
Treasury secretary Henry Rotich in the Budget Statement on June 14 invited trustees of the Sh1 trillion pension industry to partner with the government in financing mega projects under the PPP framework. PPPs plan has for years struggled to take off.