By Standard Reporter
The Government has issued tenders for the construction of six One Stop Border Operations (OSBO) at strategic border points in Kenya.
The project is a joint bid with the World Bank, African Development Bank and Trade Mark East Africa.
It is estimated that the projects will cost close to Sh5 billion depending on the cost of capital at the time of the tender awards.
Already three OSBOs are under constructions at Lunga Lunga, Isebania and Malaba Borders at a cost of Sh1.4 billion.
The move is aimed at enhancing compliance with dictates of the East African Community integration that call for efficiency in cargo and human traffic within common borders.
Key amenities to be put up include customs booths, administration blocks, Police Station, ware house, x-ray room, ablution blocks, animal house, dog kennels, gate houses and associated civil works.
Njuca Consolidated Company will construct Lunga Lunga point while Vaghjijayani Enterprises will undertake the works at Malaba and Isebania.
Busia, Namanga and Moyale are the other target stations.
Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) will implement the works, according to a statement issued by the agency.
“The contractors are already on site and have already commenced the works”, said KeNHA Director General Meshack Kidenda.
He said the attainment of Vision 2030 will depend heavily on the quality of roads, which catalyses economic growth.
“We will enhance our operations to ensure that Kenyan Highways are in the best possible shape to allow the safe and free flow of goods and services as spelt out in our mandate”, he said.
KeNHA says the three projects under way have passed the Environmental Assessment tests as dictated by NEMA.
It is estimated that goods worth billions of shillings pass through the three border points on their way to various markets in Kenya and Tanzania.
KeNHA has modernized weighbridge operations in Kenya as part of deliberate efforts to speed up movement of goods on Kenya roads.
Mariakani, Mlolongo and Gil Gil are manned by SGS Kenya Limited and Avery East Africa respectively.
SGS runs Mariakani and Gil Gil, while Avery East Africa operates the Mlolongo Weighbridge.
The partnership with the private sector in the management of weighbridges falls inline with the Government policy of involving private sector in public enterprise to enhance efficiency.
The move was legalised by the passing of Private Public Partnership Bill by Parliament.
It is aimed at addressing areas cited as grey in the fight against corruption in bid to check the vice.
In the weighbridge model, the firms check each other to ensure that those who flout axle load as stipulated by the newly enacted Traffic Act 2012.
The weighbridge manager at Mlolongo Charles Nyagah says compliance to axle load has increased since KeNHA instituted tough measures to ensure axle load compliance, enhance free movement of trucks and keep away rent seekers at the facility.
"KeNHA has installed CCTV cameras, fenced off the weighbridge area and hired under over detectives to deal with graft", Nyagah said.
He said both SGS and Avery East Africa check each other to ensure no collusion with rogue contractors, keen on flouting axle load limits.
"Avery reweighs all lorries that come from Mariakani, while SGS does the same in Gig Gil and Vice Versa as spelt out by KeNHA", said Nyagah.
This has decongested the facilities and improved turn around time by more than 80 per cent.
The Judiciary has been roped into the initiative and has established a special traffic court in Athi River to deal with trucks flouting axle load. The court was launched by Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa and Chief Justice Willy Mutunga in August.
Kenya has been under pressure from its EAC partner states to speed up the construction of the OSBS after Tanzania and Rwanda put in place the facilities to speed up the implementation of eamless border points.
The business community has variously complained over turn around times at border posts in EAC and the implementation of the Bill establishing OSBP’s in the region will mitigate against the challenge.
One stop border posts are considered to be a key milestone in EAC integration.