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Streamline tendering of projects

By The Standard | September 8th 2016

Revelation of abnormal profits made by a Chinese contractor raises a major question on whether Kenyans are actually getting value for money in the race to build world-class infrastructure.

There is every reason to believe that all projects including the Sh327 billion Standard Gauge Railway may actually be as lucrative for the contractors, if not more. Tendering and financing for these projects is completed under utmost secrecy while it is the taxpayer who will ultimately settle the loans through taxes.

In the last three years, we have taken up more debt that the country did in more than 20 years. Most of the borrowings went to fund critical projects including ports, roads and railways. Our inability to fund these projects from our own pockets puts Kenyans at a disadvantage as the lender often has the final word in determining who is awarded the contract.

It is bad enough that a contractor can bill the country more than double the amount that would actually be spent in executing the project. But it is worse when the funds being spent are borrowed. The fundamental question we are asking on behalf of Kenyans is whether we must develop the projects, at whatever cost and in no regard to the debt burden that will be borne by our children and their children.

We demand more openness in tendering, which should be divorced from the providers of project financing.

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