Country needs Sh4tr to modernise all roads, Murkomen says

To raise all Kenya’s roads to modern standards the Ministry of Transport needs Sh4 trillion, Cabinet Secretary for Transport Kipchumba Murkomen has told Parliament 

Murkomen, who appeared before the National Assembly Finance Committee chaired by Molo MP Kuria Kimani said he would require Sh3.99 trillion adding that there was need to increase funds for the construction of roads, including those classified as national and county.

The CS said Sh315 billion was required for maintenance in the next five years with the roads destroyed by recent floods requiring Sh37 billion for repair and that if the MPs want Kenyans to have good roads they should allocate money where it is required.

“The cost of goods will go up when the roads are not in good condition, that is why are requesting for more funds. That is why we are calling on Parliament to support our proposals,” said Murkomen.

He told the committee that a new road will require periodic maintenance with road inventory condition survey revealing 25,410 kilometres consisted of paved roads while 112, 468 being earth roads.

The Cabinet Secretary told the committee that roads maintenance levy was last reviewed eight years ago and there was a gap between maintenance needs and the funds available.

“Over 9,000 km under Kenya Rural Roads Authority have not been maintained due to lack of allocation while tarmac roads have potholes since there is zero allocation for their repair with citizens wondering why the government is talking about road projects which are not done,” said Murkomen.

He said that the President William Ruto promised to eliminate taxes on the first 100,000 electric vehicles in the country which are imported or locally manufactured with removal of all taxes whether they are vehicles, motorcycles or Tuk Tuk and that the country currently has only 4,000 electric vehicles.

Murkomen said that for electric buses excise duty should be reduced from 10 per cent to zero.

“Kenya has committed itself to climate change that is why we are asking Parliament not to reverse the changes made so as to ensure that the country is able to reach the critical mass of the electric vehicles by increasing the figure from 4,000 vehicles to 100,000 vehicles,” said Murkomen.

Eldas MP Adan Keynan said constructing roads in the country has been politicised over the years and sought an assurance from the Cabinet Secretary that areas that good roads benefit from allocation..

Defence Principal Secretary Patrick Mariru told the committee that the Defence Forces Welfare Services, formerly known as AFCO, primarily addresses the welfare of Kenya Defence Forces(KDF) which is seeking amendment to the excise duty act which affects alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to the Armed Forces.

Mariru told the National Assembly Finance Committee that the supplies are for the use for members of the KDF.

Committee chairman Kimani Kuria said that it was worth noting that the  Finance Bill 2024 Bill looked forward to the inclusion of the Kenya Police Service and National Intelligence Service in this welfare.

“We appreciate the good job done by the Kenya Defence Forces in keeping the country secure and will do our best to ensure that the officers are able to carry out their job satisfactorily,” said Kimani.

Mariru said that they are not seeking tax exemption for individual KDF officers as there is a welfare organisation 100 percent owned by KDF and that he was impressed at the work done by the officers to keep the country safe with officers putting their life on harm’s way.

“We are not seeking any tax exemption for KDF officers but an addition of the welfare, not a single shilling will go to an individual person, we are not seeking any tax benefit,” said Mariru.