The Star (Nairobi)

28 February 2012

Kenya: Sh200 Billion Needed to Complete Roads

The government requires an additional Sh200 billion to complete road construction projects. Estimates from the Ministry of Roads indicate that the government has earmarked to complete the major rehabilitation of roads by the end of the year. The ministry says shortage of funds has slowed down completion of road projects which had been listed to fresh construction or repairs.

Bett however said some of the key roads like the Kitale-Lodwar and Lokichogio highway will be completed with support from donors. He said most of the road funds disbursed to the counties in the last year had been well utilised. Bett, who was speaking at Takasis in Marakwet East where he opened a new bridge, said more than 50 per cent of the road infrastructure in the country had been improved.

Meanwhile, the government has delayed to the release of Sh1.6 billion required for the construction of the Eldoret-Ziwa-Kitale road which was commissioned by President Kibaki two month ago. The construction was to start immediately after Kibaki commissioned the work but the contractor has only received Sh80 million to carry out patch work until funds are available for the construction to be done.

However, residents of the region have claimed that that corruption may have led to misuse of part of the money meant to put up the key road which passes through Eldoret North and Cheranganyi constituencies. Executive director of the Kenya Roads Board Francis Nyanganga confirmed that there was a delay in funding for the project but efforts were being made to make the money available to the contractor. "I have talked to the relevant authorities in charge of the rural roads and Its true that there is a delay because of funding challenges", said Nyanganga.

He said the contractor had been asked to do the patch work and make the road motorable as funding is awaited. " The contractor is working to make sure that the road can be used and once funds are made available he will move to fully tarmac it", said Nyanganga. Users of the road had complained as to why the road was simply being patched yet they had been informed that it would be fully tarmacked after president Kibaki commissioned the work during a ceremony at Ziwa market in Eldoret North.

The government signed a contract worth Ksh 1.6 Billion for the construction of the Eldoret-Ziwa-Kitale road which had earlier stalled for the last six month due to controversies among firms which tendered for the project. The ministry awarded the contract to Kimilili Hauliers Limited which won the tender early last year but had been blocked from starting the project after one of the bidding construction firms filed a complaint.

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