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Stop funding new projects in institutions, parliamentary committee says

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

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