The National Government will soon ensure revival of a Sh.2.45 billion stalled project at Egerton University, a Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) official has said.
The construction of the multibillion library complex that was launched in June 2017 by the then Education Cabinet Secretary (CS), Dr. Fred Matiang’i was due for completion by June 2020, a feat that now seems impossible to achieve.
Speaking on Wednesday when members of Nakuru County Development Implementation Coordination Committee (CDICC) inspected State funded projects at the institution’s Njoro Main Campus, the PDU official, Richard Tuta, observed that though the contractor had been paid an initial Sh. 100 million for work already done, and a consultant had been paid a further Sh. 186 million, works had stalled for the past two years after running into a myriad of challenges.
One of the biggest challenges facing the project was the expiry of the consultants contract a year ago leaving the contractor with no supervising authority.
Tuta said the completion timeline for this facility had been set for June 20th, 2020, adding the agreement between the contractor and the State was not renewed when it lapsed in 2018.
The PDU Official noted that the project cannot therefore proceed without a consultant on site to supervise construction works.
“These are issues that we will be ironing out in collaboration with the Treasury and the Ministry of Public Works,” said Tuta.
He was accompanied by the University’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Rose Mwonya, Chairman to CDICC who is also Nakuru County Commissioner (CC), Erastus Mbui and several County departmental heads and representatives of State corporations.
Prof. Mwonya confirmed that the project had received an additional Sh. 200 million from the exchequer but works could not resume until the National Government dispatches officials to supervise the project and recalls the contractor on site.
“We are in a sort of puzzle on the way forward. All legal requirements and procurement regulations must be adhered to before we can go back to the site,” stated the Vice Chancellor.
The Ultra-Modern Library is to be equipped with infrastructure that will facilitate use of modern technology for effective utilization of information resources as well as provide improved safety and security to the users and library resources.
In addition, the proposed six storied building with provision designs accommodating possible addition of two more stories in future, will employ the green concept design to allow maximum ventilation. It will house a computer laboratory, an E-learning centre and conference halls.
Mr Tuta stated that in line with the President’s Directive, government institutions should not embark on any new development projects where existing projects have stalled.
“We want to ensure the project is completed as soon as practically possible. We will also ensure such projects elsewhere in the county are completed before any new ones are started,” Mr Tuta stressed.
The construction of Egerton University Ultra-Modern Library comes at a time of rapidly increasing student population which currently stands at about 24,000, need for adequate infrastructure, creation of sufficient physical space, provision of sufficient and appropriate working environment for library staff.
The Commission for University Education (CUE) Standards and Guidelines states that a university library should seat at least a third of the University’s population.
Tuta further observed that several projects valued at over Sh. 2.5 billion and initiated between 1988 and 1991 have stalled at the University.
The stalled projects were an administration building, a students’ hostel, a chemistry block and Agronomy Complex.
He urged the university administration to liaise with relevant government agencies to establish whether the stalled projects were viable for completion.
By Jane Ngugi