Nairobi, Thursday, 5, October, 2017; By Joseph Kipkoech
Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development has released reports detailing significant progress that has been made in roads construction since the Jubilee administration took over power in 2013.
It released the reports in an effort to disabuse Kenyans of the notion that construction of roads have been skewed to leave out certain populations.
Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) and Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA), two agencies in the Ministry say in the reports that the government has continued to develop infrastructure ever since Jubilee came to power.
The report on implementation status since 2013 indicates that while it is true there were ongoing projects when the current administration came to power, a lot more has been accomplished in the last four years.
During the period, the report say a total of 3,000 Km of roads were constructed out of the 10,000 Km that were targeted, with Nairobi alone having a number of projects completed.
These include the Northern and Eastern bypass carried out to the tune of Sh9.3 billion, Western ring roads (Sh1.9 billion), First Avenue Eastleigh and General Waruinge (Sh2.5 billion).
Others are the City Cabanas interchange, Nanyuki road in Industrial area, Ngong road, Juja road, Haile Selassie/Upper hill at a cost of over Sh5 billion. The government, the report reveals, plans to adopt the private, public partnership (PPP) model in building part of the remaining 7,000 Km as opposed to the government financing model it has been using over the last five years.
Kenya National Highways Authority, Kenya Urban Roads Authority and Kenya Rural Roads Authority have built 1,822.4 Km of new roads in the country.
Combined roads projects portfolio in Nyanza is 334.8 Km costing Sh89.3 billion while Coast Region has benefited from 221.4 Km, costing the tax payer Sh102.5 billion.
Debate on slow pace of road projects has attracted a lot of attention in the media as to exactly how many Kilometres have been built prompting the release of the report.
However, while responding to such concerns recently, Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development Cabinet Secretary Mr. James Macharia said unlike other services, roads were tangible and could easily be pointed out.
According to the Ministry, since March 2013 when Jubilee came to power, the three road construction agencies: KURA, KeRRA and Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) have built 1,822.4 Km of new roads in the country.
In addition, 888.04 Km have either been reconstructed or rehabilitated, bringing the total length achieved in the four years to 2.710.08 Km by this month. The Ministry says different figures that sometimes emerge are because people get the information from different sources. Some go to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
It said the combined roads projects portfolio in Nyanza is 334.8 Km costing Sh89.3 billion while Coast Region has benefited from 221.4 Km, costing the taxpayer Sh102.5 billion.
The PPP model that will be used to complete the remaining and ongoing road construction projects is divided into two phases.
The first phase involves identifying roads that need to be worked on while the second involves bringing the private entities, contractors, banks and other financiers on board to finance the identified road. Transport Cabinet Secretary gave the example of the Nairobi – Mombasa superhighway expansion project which is being done under the PPP approach.
“To be able to do the road, it is going to cost us some Sh300 billion which we do not have. But the contractor can get the funding then we can do a tolling station where they can collect the money over time and be able to pay the bank themselves,” he said, adding that the American firm undertaking the project banks on getting the funds from the US- Exim Bank.
Of the targeted 10,000 Km road network, the Cabinet Secretary said the projects cuts across the board. “In Maasai Mara, people have been waiting for the Mara-Sekenani Road for labour five decades, with contractor on site,” he said.
While accompanying President Uhuru Kenyatta in China for a major infrastructure conference dubbed Belt and Road Forum early this year, Mr. Macharia said on the sidelines that there is also an urgent need to expand the Eastern and Northern bypasses to ease traffic congestion in Nairobi.