Construction work for the multi-billion Muruny-Siyoi water project in West Pokot has stalled due to lack of funds.
The contractor has suspended work due to delayed payment by the Government for the project that was expected to be completed in 36 months. The project, that was started in 2015, was set to benefit over 200,000 households.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto toured the project and launched it in November 2016.
Speaking at the site on Friday after the County Development Implementation Coordination Committee (CDICC) visited the site at Kapsait to check on the progress, the project Senior Resident Engineer Gideon Onyuka, said the contractor suspended works at the beginning of April.
Eng Onyunka who is Phase 1 Muruny-Siyoi resident engineer, said it was the third time the contractor was suspending the work since he has not been paid since last March.
He pointed out that the contractor has been paid about Sh2.7 billion and work done already is 68 per cent, while the contractor has raised a request payment of Sh660 million for continuation, which has not been honoured.
"So far, about 68 per cent of the work has been done and the contractor is requesting to be paid Sh660 million for work to resume," said the engineer.
He said any suspension would attract an additional cost, pointing out that the Government will be forced to pay an additional cost of between Sh1.2 million to 1.3 million per day for all days suspended.
"Any suspension by the contractor due to delay of payment by its client would attract an additional cost even if there is no work going on and it ranges between Sh 1.2 million to Sh 1.3 million per day," said Onyuka
Initially, the project was estimated to cost over Sh9 billion where Sh5.2 billion was for the construction of the dam under Phase One and over Sh4.2 billion was for the construction of the treatment plant and piping under Phase 2.
He said the delays in payment by the Government comes with additional cost and tax payers will end up digging deeper into their pockets.
The project intends to supply more than 236,000 people in the county with clean and safe water after completion.
Engineer William Kenyatta, senior resident engineer for Phase Two Muruny– Siyoi, said the delay in payment by the national Treasury has proved to be a challenge and the Government risk paying more than budgeted.
Eng Kenyatta noted that the current weather might further contribute to the delay, saying the current heavy rain being experienced in the area might not be good for the project to continue.
"We urge the Government to disburse the funds," he said.