NAIROBI: The Government's ambitious plan to tarmac at least 10,000km roads across the country will finally begin next week. This comes in the wake of Cabinet's approval of the Road Annuity Programme Fund, to be implemented under Public-Private-Partnership arrangement.
"Your Excellency, to show the seriousness of the implementation of the Annuity Programme, we wish to invite you for the first 650km road for pricing and designing on 20th of this month, so that we roll out the programme, " Roads Principal Secretary, John Mosonik said in an invitation to Deputy President William Ruto.
Ruto said the Government would soon make payments for roads projects upon their completion. He said, over the years', the Government has been encountering numerous challenges in the development and maintenance of roads.
He cited budgetary constraints, high unit costs and escalation as some of the challenges that the Government had faced in the past, saying it has led to delays and accumulation of outstanding payments.
"This will be a significant shift from the past practice since payments will only be made for roads completed well," he said during the second-prebid conference held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.
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Mr Ruto said the Government has resolved to adopt the Annuity Financing Framework as a solution to challenges facing the infrastructure sector. He said the programme, which has been tested and proven in other countries, would help eliminate corruption, which has been a major challenge in the sector.
The Deputy President said wastage of public resources would be minimised when private firms are contracted to build roads and other infrastructure projects.
"The contractors have no reason for not completing their work within the stipulated period as the Government will pay them as per the agreement reached upon before the construction work," said Ruto.
"I am happy that we have finally come up with a programme that will eliminate wastage of variations as well as idle equipment because of design related work. With the new way of doing things, we now need to put all these behind us," he added.
At the same time, the deputy president said days when the cost of construction of roads was inflated by unscrupulous contractors were gone.
"There is no rocket science, magic or something from the moon on the cost of doing roads in any part of the world, especially on how much the cost of a kilometre can be as far as the construction of roads are concerned," said Mr Ruto.
He added, "There is no absolute reason why a country like Australia or India can pay between Sh15-20 million per kilometre for example, while here in Kenya we pay between Sh60-80 million per kilometre. No way, we are not going back to the way we did things before."