President Kenyatta calls for review of high road project costs

President Kenyatta calls for review of high road project costs

The Ministry of Transport has been put on the spot over the high cost of road projects in the country.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed the ministry to evaluate the contracts signed with contractors to ensure the country gets value for money invested in roads.

Speaking at the statehouse Infrastructure summit on Monday, the head of state, corruption cartels have infiltrated the sector with inflated prices used to line the pockets of few individuals.

“This issue of costs is very important. I continue to challenge these people why does a road have to cost Sh120 million a kilometer and they tell me it has to be designed in accordance with what? This is a lie, it’s just a way to steal money,” President Kenyatta said.

The government has pumped in billions of shillings, mostly in loans, to improve the country’s roads with most mega projects given to Chinese contractors.

The Nairobi western bypass became the latest road project to be dogged with controversy when it emerged it would cost Sh1 billion a kilometer to complete the 17.3 kilometer road.

The Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) said the road would have a four lane highway as well 17.37 kilometers of service roads and number of overpasses and interchanges.

By comparison, a kilometer of the 12-lane Thika highway cost Sh600 million.

The president also challenged the ministry to speed up the road annuity program to get more private sector players involved in the construction of roads.

“With the infrastructure deficit that we have unless we are going to say that we are going to wait for the next 50 years we need to cooperate and partner with the private sector so that those roads that open up for mwananchi, let government. Those roads that can be profitable, let private sector do,” the head of state stressed.

Last month the ministry of transport said it was seeking to procure a consortium with the capacity to secure funding to construct 233 kilometers of roads under phase 1 of the 10,000 road annuity program. In a gazette notice, the Transport Ministry indicated that the approach under the program will be based on the Finance-Design-Build-Maintain Contract Framework.

The government is in a race to pave 3,000 kilometers of road before 2017.