The Star (Nairobi)

7 September 2012

Kenya: New Proposals Not Good for Roads Sector

editorial

Contractors in the road sector are unhappy after it emerged yesterday that there existed a silent government policy to abolish four roads authorities. A stakeholders meeting yesterday learned that the Kenya Roads Board, Kenya National Highways Authority, Kenya Urban Roads Authority and Kenya Rural Roads Authority may be scrapped under a proposed policy.

The 'Draft Policy on Aligning the Roads Sub Sector with the Constitution,' claims that some of the organizations will become redundant due to decentralization of power to counties under the new constitution. The government appears to be reversing the immense gains that have been made in the roads sector since the enactment of the Kenya Roads Bill 2007 into law, that created the roads authorities.

The proposals by the Ministry of Roads sound like unnecessary replacement of existent bodies with new ones that are expected to conduct the exact same roles. For example, it proposes the formation of the Kenya National Trunk Roads Authority (KENTRA) which will be in charge of design, construction and management of national trunk roads currently being handled by KeNHA.

It also proposes the establishment of the Kenya Roads Fund which will be in charge of management of roads maintenance funds, effectively killing the Kenya Roads Board. Decentralizing the sector has had many benefits, including prompt payments and clear procurement rules unlike the situation when the ministry handled everything a few years ago. Strides that have been made in the roads sector should be guarded.

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