Five counties to takeover stalled Sh2.5 billion headquarters projects

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ali Roba. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The Senate Finance Committee has asked Inter-Governmental Relations Technical Committee (IGTRC) to oversee the transfer of the construction of Sh2.5 billion five counties headquarters from the State Department of Public Works to respective county governments.

Governors Muthomi Njuki (Tharaka Nithi), Issa Timamy (Lamu) Kiarie Badilisha (Nyandarua), Godhana Dhadho (Tana River) and Abdi Guyo who appeared before the Senate committee in Parliament buildings expressed concern that the projects have stalled for five to nine years.

The Committee Chairman Ali Roba said that the five governors should commit themselves to complete the projects while the National Treasury should give  assurance that it would provide the required funds and the Public Works Department to release the projects.

“We would like the National Treasury to give an assurance that it will provide the funds for the completion of Tharaka Nithi, Lamu, Nyandarua, Tana River and Isiolo counties headquarters while the five governors should commit themselves in doing the projects,” said Roba.

Njuki, Timamy, Badilisha, Dhadho and Guyo told the meeting attended by National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u, Public Works Principal Secretary Joel Arumonyang and IGRTC Chief Executive Officer Kipkirui Chepkwony that they would want to see the headquarters completed.

During the meeting, all the parties committed to a smooth transfer of the projects to the devolved units with the IGRTC tasked to supervise signing of agreements between the parties before the counties open special purpose accounts to enable the National Treasury release funds.

The five counties headquarters started as early as 2015 following a deal with the national government to support the counties complete the projects with the National Treasury required to cater for 70 per cent of the cost and devolved units 30 per cent.

The State Department of Public Works was picked as the implementing agency to deliver the country headquarters, however, all the projects have stalled with the governors blaming the State Department of dilly dallying and the National Treasury for unpredictable schedule for funds release.

Guyo said that Isiolo county had availed all the required funds and accused the the State Department of Public Works and the National Treasury of failing to keep their end of the bargain.

“It is disappointing that we are using millions of shilling to rent offices for county staff in Isiolo because of the stalled county headquarters project which is not our fault, we have provided Sh167.07 million out of the Sh556.90 million that was required to complete it,” he said.

The Isiolo govenor said the five storied county headquarters construction was started in 2019 with the National Treasury having provided Sh171.05 million out of Sh 389.03 million it was required to give to ensure completion of the project.

“The construction of Tharaka Nithi county headquarters started in 2015 and was to cost Sh 366.82 million, the National Treasury has far given out Sh195.25 million with the county providing Sh103.91 million, we are ready to complete the building if we get the balance,” said Njuki.

The construction of Tana River county headquarters at a cost of Sh622.08 million has delayed while in Lamu the construction of Sh195.21 million headquarters has faced hinderance and Nyandarua county headquarters started in 2017 at a cost of Sh 372.32 million has stalled.

Prof Njuguna told the Senate that the National Treasury will release Sh445 million for the  five county headquarters projects in the current fiscal year and Sh425 million in the next financial year to ensure completion.