The delay in construction of Sh2.2 billion Kirandich Dam phase II water project has been blamed on a conditional grant which tied contractors to the financier, Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Mr Simon Chelugui has said.
Chelugui said that to unlock the project and fast track its implementation which has stalled for three years since it was negotiated, it was imperative to vary the conditional grant to allow the government to hire contractors.
Speaking at Kituro village during burial ceremony of a retired teacher Richard Cherogony who died of stomach cancer last week, the CS said that if it is not possible to delink the contractor from the financier, Italian government, then the Kenya government should look for its funds to move the project forward.
“A contractor has been a big challenge in implementation of the project since we cannot choose our own contractors because during negotiation with the donor to extend the project, contractors were tied to financiers. To unlock this problem, it is incumbent for our government to source for its own funds,” he said.
Chelugui who was accompanied by County Assembly Speaker David Kiplagat and MCAs Reuben Chepsongol (Bartabwa) and Kipruto Kimosop (Mochongoi) stated that the grant is only available up to March 2022 when its terms will expire.
The Labour CS who was in charge of the Water and Sanitation docket when negotiation was being done urged local leaders to exercise their oversight role and follow up on the contract to ensure area people benefit from the multimillion water supply.
Construction of Phase II of the project, he noted, is supposed to encompass the development of sewerage system and waste management for Kabarnet town with a population of close to 30,000 people and extension of distribution pipelines and water tanks to cover Kituro, Kitumbei to Kaptorokwo, Kasoyo to Kabasis and from Ngolong, Kabartonjo to Seretunin.
He added the phase II of the water project is meant to provide hydro power to enable water to be pumped to tanks in high parts of Kabarnet town for distribution to residents in surrounding areas.
“The construction of phase II was designed to provide hydropower which in the long run will solve the challenge of high electricity bills of Sh2 million per month,” he observed.
Construction of Kirandich Dam phase II project was commissioned by the late President Daniel arap Moi in 2001 to help alleviate the decade long water shortage experienced in Kabarnet town.
By Betty Malakwen and Joshua Kibet