Pending bills for road projects are Sh150 billion, Transport CS Murkomen says

CS Roads and Infrastructure Onesmas Kipchumba Murkomen when they appeared before the Senate Joint Committees on Lands, Environment and Natural Resources and Roads and Transport at the KICC, Nairobi on April 20, 2023 [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Roads and Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen has said pending bills for completed road projects have hit Sh150 billion.

The CS who appeared before the Senate in Nairobi yesterday to answer questions revealed that he was engaging various partners to look for funds to clear the pending bills.

"We have a serious challenge of pending bills. We have up to Sh150 billion of work already done. I will be a liar to say that we will do new roads. I was in China recently to have discussions about how they can help us shoulder this burden of pending bills," he said.

At the same time, Murkomen said the government has set aside Sh600 billion for road projects across the country.

He noted that the national government has constructed 21,556km of tarmac roads since independence.

The CS told the House that with the scarce resources available, the ministry will concentrate on the improvement of road works and other infrastructure across the country.

"I would like to assure senators that the government is giving priority to the development of the road network across the country. We are aware that they are key in opening various parts to development by making transport efficient and convenient to road users," he said.

Murkomen assured senators that 14 counties that are considered marginalized will be given priority in the development of roads through the equalization fund.

The CS said he will convene a meeting with governors, senators and MPs to deliberate on roads to be constructed in their respective counties.

Murkomen noted that some of the incomplete roads have historical problems and wondered whether procurement rules were followed as some of them had been pending since 2015 after no money was allocated for their construction.

"We are going to ensure that all the pending road projects in the country are completed before we start any new projects. That is why we are engaging leaders from various counties to ensure that we give priority to roads that will serve a huge segment of the population," he said.

He appealed for patience from Kenyans saying that planting banana stems on bad roads is not a solution.

Responding to a question by Tana River Senator Danson Mungatana over the number of roads upgraded to bitumen standards in the county, the CS said 442km of roads have been tarmacked while 727km of unpaved roads are maintained annually.