The Government has an ambitious plan to build 8,000 kilometres of new roads over the next three years, a daunting task considering this is more than three times the length of roads built over the same past period.
The National Treasury in its draft Budget Policy Statement (BPS), says it plans to spend Sh540 billion over the next three financial years to build 8,245 kilometres of roads and repair more than 100,000 kilometres.
It proposes to build over 2,700 kilometres every year.
“To further expand the road network, the Government intends to construct 8,245km of new roads, construct 150 bridges, and rehabilitate 763 km of existing roads and maintain 114,131 km of existing roads in the medium term which will help to open up the rural areas to enable farmers to get their produce to markets faster and cheaply,” said the BPS published by Treasury.
The plan is however against a background of poor performance in road construction in recent years. Over the medium term between the 2015/16 and 2017/18 financial years, only 2,300 kilometres of new roads have been built.
Treasury expects Kenyans to give feedback on the different proposals it has made on how the Government will spend their tax money over the next financial year.
The BPS notes that over the previous medium term - 2015/16 t0 2017/18 – some of the key achievements by the infrastructure sector included construction of 2,388km of new roads, rehabilitation of 359km and construction of 62 new bridges.
Over the next financial year, Treasury will give Sh172.46 billion for construction of roads, which is slightly lower than Sh180 billion that the different Government agencies in charge of roads were allocated in the current (2018/19) financial year.
This is projected to go up to Sh182 billion in the 2020/21 financial year and Sh186 billion in 2021/22.
The Government will heavily rely on public-private partnerships for the construction of roads and other infrastructure. In the draft BPS, Treasury said it is ready to start procuring partners.
These include the second Nyali Bridge and the Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau Summit road, which will be financed and constructed by private entities that will then put up toll stations and charge motorists for the use of the roads.