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Rural Electrification Authority shelves signage plan to save Sh1.8 billion

By Philip Mwakio | Published Thu, April 16th 2015 at 10:09, Updated April 16th 2015 at 10:12 GMT +3

Kenya: The Rural Electrification Authority (REA) has shelved plans to roll out an electronic signage project covering all the 21,000 primary schools connected to the electricity grid.

The move will save the Government Sh1.8 billion that was to be used in the electronic signage installation.

Speaking in Mombasa while inspecting ongoing work to connect electricity at Dingirikani Primary School, Kisauni Constituency on Tuesday, one of the beneficiaries of the nationwide primary school electrification programme, REA Chairman Simon Gicharu said the agency has taken the decision to suspend the programme.

“It would be wastage of resources. We instead would wish to see the funds allocated to light up more classes, buy text books, improve general infrastructure of existing rural communities where REA has undertaken electrification projects," Dr Gicharu, who was accompanied by REA Coast Regional Co-ordinator Frederick Nyamai, said.

According to Gicharu, the cost of production and installation that was to take place in all 21,000 primary schools is Sh87,660 per station. Cost of producing one signage is estimated at Sh33,000 while mounting of the same including for grid areas is Sh54,660.

Gicharu said they are working to meet the deadline of April 30, 2015 to have all schools in the project lit up.

“President Uhuru Kenyatta is very passionate about having this project materialise and we as REA have taken it up upon ourselves to ensure we deliver as per the Presidential directive," Gicharu said.

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At the event, the chairman lauded women contractors who have landed jobs with REA in the nationwide primary school electrification for doing a commendable job. “They have proved to be diligent in their work,” Gicharu said.

He said at least 10 contractors have been blacklisted by the authority for shoddy work and unethical practices and will not be allowed to do jobs for REA. “Our strict rules of engagement have to be followed to the latter by all and sundry,” the chairman said.

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