Murkomen says KeRRA not to blame in roads allocation row

Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Transport and Roads Cabinet Secretay Kipchumba Murkomen has absolved a roads agency from blame amid claims of irregular allocations for road maintenance.

Murkomen appeared before the National Assembly plenary where he was queried on the criteria used for allocating funds through the Road Maintenance Levy Fund and Development Vote as outlined in the tender notice published by the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) on September 29, 2023. 

The CS, however, explained that public roads are maintained with money from the Road Maintenance Levy Fund, commonly known as the “fuel levy”, as provided for under the Kenya Roads Board Act 1999. “For example, 32 per cent of the fuel levy funds is earmarked for rural roads under the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) and is distributed equally to the concerned constituencies,” said Murkomen.  

“Another 10 per cent goes to various emergencies, such as that caused by the current El Nino rains, and security roads,” he added.

The CS further explained that constituency road committees, staffed by appointees of the NG-CDF and overseen by MPs, are responsible for ensuring equity and optimal use of the fuel levy at the constituency level.

The MPs also heard that on the  Development Vote, budgetary allocations to various projects are processed through the annual budgetary cycle, culminating in the appropriation by the National Assembly after scrutiny by the appropriate committees of the House.

“The initial budget allocation proposals for the Development Vote are generated by agencies of the Ministry of Roads and Transport. Priority is given to, among others, completing ongoing projects (also a requirement under the Public Finance Management Act); availability of fiscal space for new projects; and equity and regional balance,” he said.

Murkomen also refuted allegations of inequity apportioned on the part of KeRRa.

“On the tender notice published by KeRRA on 29 September 2023, it was misunderstood and misinterpreted on various forums,” he told the MPs.   “The context is that KeRRA had identified several non-performing contractors. After repeated efforts to revive the affected projects failed, the agency found it necessary to terminate them,” he added.  

Murkomen also brought to the fore that the Attorney General okayed the winding up of the projects and fresh tendering so that the projects could continue.

He said new contractors will be sought through open tendering.