The Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Industry and Cooperatives wants Treasury to stop funding new construction projects at public technical institutions to allow completion of similar projects that have stalled for decades.
The Chairman of the Committee, Kanini Kega said that a considerable number of public technical institutions countrywide have a backlog of stalled training infrastructure and this state of affairs has become an obstruction to efficient operations of the facilities.
Kega wants Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and relevant agencies to institute an audit of stalled development projects countrywide and fund only ventures that are viable as a way of stimulating technical education.
Kega was speaking at the Kenya Industrial Training Institute (KITI) on Thursday where he led members of the select committee on a fact finding mission on a portfolio of incomplete buildings some that have stalled for over 30 years.
He expressed concern over the obsession with starting new projects instead of completing stalled ones that have left billions of tax payers’ money to go to waste.
The Chairman wondered how anyone would set up new projects in an institution that blames lack of finances for incomplete infrastructure.
Kega noted that most of the new construction projects are a blatant violation of the institutions’ basic priorities, a move he says is contrary to the ambitious quest for a skills sufficient country under the government`s manufacturing agenda.
On its analysis of KITI, the select committee established that the institution that hosts 1,200 students pursuing various vocational disciplines lack adequate hostels, learning equipment, tuition halls and workshops despite a Sh.300 million Government funding last financial year to complete stalled projects.
Kega revealed that the committee had recommended that Sh.250 Million be channeled to the institute this financial year to aid in the completion of stalled projects as a way of making the country`s second largest public technical training institute responsive to local industrial needs.
He said the contractor is already on site and he is expected to complete a female hostel and tuition blocs within the next six months.
The KITI Director, Peris Adema told the committee that student enrollment at the institution is rising every year and therefore called on the government to expedite the release of the funds to help the institution expand its over stretched accommodation and tuition facilities.
She noted that the technical institution that is now the largest in Nakuru County has the potential to competently train artisans who are resourceful in the bid for an industrial metropolis within the central Rift region.
By Jane Ngugi/Dennis Rasto