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State to borrow Sh150b to finish stalled projects

By Harold Odhiambo | January 29th 2020
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia. He says the government needs Sh150 billion to complete stalled road projects. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has admitted that the government is facing challenges completing a number of road projects in western Kenya.

Speaking on Monday after touring Kisumu Port, the CS said the government banked its hopes on a Sh150 billion bond it was seeking to issue to raise money for stalled road projects.

The bond will be issued through the Kenya Roads Board.

“We have had challenges in completing road projects, but funds from the bond will be available by March, after which we will pay all pending bills to contractors amounting to Sh80 billion and dedicate the rest to completion of the projects,” she said.

In Nyanza region, road construction projects worth Sh12 billion that were set for completion between May 2020 and July 2021 in Kisii and Nyamira counties have stalled.

In Kisumu, construction of the Sh300 million Ahero junction inter-change and the Mamboleo fly-over has stalled.

The two projects were commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta early last year. 

Work on the Kisumu-Kakamega road has also stalled for more than two years now. The multi-million shilling road that had been projected to be completed this year stalled following a disagreement between the national government and the contractor.

The delay has been hurting business. According to Lake Basin Development Authority chairperson Odoyo Owidi, the incomplete stretch of the road was blocking the authority's mall.

Also stalled is Mamboleo-Chemelil road. The road has been the subject of controversy, with different government agencies denying responsibility over its sorry state.

The fate of several other road projects is still hanging in the balance. These include the construction of a Sh70 billion ring road running along Lake Victoria's beaches from Busia to Migori, which had been tipped to turn the region into an economic hub. The project is yet to kick off.

The Ahero-Isebania expressway is also yet to be completed and the contractor has not been on site for several months.

During the 2017 campaigns, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto launched a number of road projects in the region.

One of them was the Sh1.9 billion Mogonga-Kenyenya-Riokindo-Magenche-Mariba-Nyagancha-Ebegere-Daraja road and the Marani road in Kisii, at a cost of Sh2 billion.

Work on these roads has also stalled.

In Nyamira, the President launched the Sh547.4 million Mosobeti-Kebirigo road, whose construction has also stalled.

Others yet to be completed are 20km of Nyachenge-Tabaka-Ogembo/Riosiri feeder roads and the expansion of the four-kilometre Nyamataro-Daraja Mbili road.

The African Development bank and the Government of Kenya are funding the project at a cost of Sh8.6 billion through the Kenya National Highways Authority.

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