President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law the Kenya Roads Board (Amendment) Bill, 2019 that paves way for the government to seek a Sh800 billion infrastructure bond in four years.
The law will now give the board powers to seek the funds to allow the Jubilee government deliver on its pledge of constructing 10,000km of roads by 2022.
This will also allow the board to set aside funds for repayment of loans and other facilities taken for road maintenance, development and rehabilitation.
Present during the signing of the Bill were Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Majority Leader Aden Duale and Pokot South MP and the National Assembly’s transport committee chair David Pkosing.
Restructure the mandate
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Others were Infrastructure Principal Secretary Paul Maringa, Attorney General Paul Kihara and National Assembly Clerk Michael Sialai.
The new Act seeks to ensure that roads for which tenders have been awarded and money allocated are completed within the set timelines.
Already, according to the websites of roads agencies, there are 6800km of roads that are at different stages of implementation including procurement to construction stage.
Yesterday, Mr Pkosing, the mover of the amendments told the Sunday Standard that the bond was the only way to address budget deficit in the roads sector and ensure construction of roads to realise Jubilee’s infrastructure agenda.
“The law that has been signed by the President now opens the opportunity for the country to realise the pledged roads in the shortest time possible, we will allow the government to seek Sh800 billion to ensure they complete 10,000km of roads in four years,” Pkosing said.
The new law outlines how funds will be used in construction and maintenance of roads.
The new law will restructure the mandate and operations of the board and other agencies in the sector including Kenya Highways Authority (KeNHA), Kenya Rural Roads Authority (Kerra) and Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura).
The Act has also spelled out in percentages how the board will share funds across the different levels right from the constituency roads to the national highways.
The law provides that at least 22 per cent of funds be allocated to the Constituency Roads Fund Account for each of the 290 constituencies to be maintained by Kura.
Another 10 per cent of funds be appropriated by the National Assembly for development and maintainance of link roads between constituencies.
The law caps 40 per cent as the funds that the Kenya Roads Board should allocate to the national roads to be administered by the KeNHA.
Fifteen percent of the funds for roads will be set aside for construction and maintenance of urban roads by Kura while a paltry one percent will go to the national parks and administered by Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS).
The law is expected to streamline the construction of roads in the country and the operations of the roads agencies.
The agencies will be required to submit their annual programme to the board six months before the beginning of the financial year.
“Every roads agency shall submit details containing comprehensive plan of action, development rehabilitation and maintenance of roads under the charge and their estimated cost,” reads the Act in part.
Pkosing said the committee was concerned that without such a law, it would be difficult to complete the 10,000km of roads that President Kenyatta promised.
The Transport Committee chair noted that the government will commit Sh10 billion from the Fuel Levy Fund each year to repay the bond as spelt out in the law.
“We will borrow to complete the roads and have the Fuel Levy Fund which sometimes is sitting there waiting to be spent to serve as loan repayment. This way we will complete the roads fast and repay slowly,” he said.
Pkosing said 6,100km of roads were under construction and the government plans to work on a further 1,200km, translating to 7,300 kilometres at several levels of implementation.
“We already have 2,800km on block top and the remaining 7,000km is what we are looking at to ensure the 10,000km target is met, as the committee that streamlines expenditure on the infrastructure we feel that this law will be the silver bullet on roads,” he said.