Kipchumba Murkomen's tough task to deliver state projects

Roads Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen and Moja Express way CEO Steve Zhao cross a rail during inspection of Express Way at Mlolongo in Machakos County on July 13, 2023. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen has his work cut out in honouring the one-year performance contract he signed on Tuesday.

In the contract between Murkomen and his boss, President William Ruto, which took effect from July 1, he pledged his ministry would absorb the Sh5 billion allocated to development and recurrent programmes, projects and activities in the Roads and Transport department.

The contract which runs for a year also requires the Transport ministry to finalise the development of a Cabinet Memo for the troubled Kenya Airways Turn Around Strategy by June next year.

“The purpose of this Performance Contract is to establish the basis for ensuring that efficient and effective services are delivered to Kenyans in line with the provisions of the Constitution,” reads the preamble of the contract the CS signed.

Murkomen committed to overseeing the maintenance of 45,600km of roads and the construction of 86km of new high-traffic roads. He also pledged to upgrade 26km of the said roads in a decongestion plan where 12km will be rehabilitated.

His ministry will also oversee 50km worth of construction works on the Lamu-Ijara -Garissa road as part of the Lamu Port, South Sudan, Ethiopia Transport Corridor.

The ministry will is also obligated to absorb the entire sum of funds mobilised from the World Bank, amounting to Sh2.47 billion.

The Roads Department will get Sh2.2 billion of the amount, meant for the Horn of Africa Gateway Development Project, with some Sh27 million going to the Transport Department for the same project. 

Further, Murkomen was tasked to ensure that his ministry would generate Sh1.2 billion as appropriation in aid, or revenue from its operations.

Of the amount, Sh60 million will be sourced from the US government “for the use of the Kenyan airspace.”

By signing the performance contract, the Transport CS also tied himself to a Sh76.3 million ceiling on pending bills in the 2023/24 financial year, an amount that translates to one per cent of the ministry’s total Sh7.63 billion budget. In April, Murkomen said his ministry owed contractors Sh145 billion for projects already done.

“The ministry will accelerate the adoption of ICT solutions for ease of access fast, cost-effective, convenient, efficiency in service delivery,” the performance contract reads in part, requiring the digitisation of at least 25 per cent of the ministry’s services.

Other obligations Murkomen will be required to fulfill include overseeing 60 per cent of the Port Charter Stakeholders’ biannual meetings and writing the reports, as well as implementing 40 per cent of the recommendations.

The obligations also include progressing the Dongo Kundu Bypass works from the current 55 per cent to 90 per cent by overseeing the construction of the Mwache-Tsunza-Metza road project and improving port services.

“During the contract period, the ministry will oversee throughput increased from 34 million tons to 35.075 million tons,” reads the contract that also tasks the CS with preparing a Railway Bill.

The Transport Ministry will also be required to implement a citizens’ service delivery charter as well as resolve complaints issued by the Ombudsperson’s office.

By June 30 next year, the ministry is required to negotiate and conclude bilateral air services agreements with the Maldives and the Philippines, as well as review the stated agreements with Mauritius, France, Somalia, Guinea Conakry, Djibouti and South Sudan.

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