Road construction stalled due to Sh140bn pending bills inherited from Jubilee regime – Murkomen – Capital FM Kenya
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NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 19 -Transport and Public Works nominee Kipchumba Murkomen has revealed that the ministry has inherited Sh140 billion in pending bills.
Murkomen made the revelations before the National Assembly Appointment Committee, where he pointed out that the situation has led to stalling of the ongoing road construction works as the government has no funds to pay contractors.
“The reason why the roads have stalled is because we are unable to pat the contractors and the money to pay them is not there. This is because the money has disbursed the money to other sector and the problem is that we have bit more than we can chew,” he said.
The Transport and Public Works nominee expressed that the costly mistakes that the Jubilee regime undertook in expensive contractual framework in the road construction has led to the current situation of stalled road projects.
Murkomen elaborated that the Kenya Kwanza Manifesto has provided a mechanism to deal with the current crisis by ensuring securitization of loans and the use of road levy to pay off all the pending bills.
“This will make sure we offset all of the pending bills so that we can ensure the construction of roads continue and the equity in infrastructure that we have been talking about is achieved,” he said.
This is even as he assured that once approved, he will revoke the annuity programme in the infrastructure projects that precipitated the construction of Ngong to Kiserian road at skyrocketed prices.
“I will scrap that program and have conversation on the other two roads the one in Lokichar and Modogashe moved to conventional way of construction. Its even better to borrow than to use the annuity program in the construction of these roads,” Murkomen stated.
The Roads Annuity Fund was established under the Public Management Regulation in 2015 whose purpose was to provide government capital to meet the national Government’s annuity payment obligations for the development and maintenance of roads under RAP.
The annuity programme was aimed at transforming the country into a low-cost investment and trading destination and bring Kenya closer to the realization of Vision 2030 and attainment of middle income economy status.
Murkomen also pledged to boost the technological infrastructure along the border points to ease the congestion of trucks along the Northern Corridor.
He pointed out that the congestion along the Malaba border has been occasioned by poor technological network being used by the Kenya Revenue Authority to clear trucks.
“As a result of the technology being used sometime even its about internet being used. We will be able to work with the relevant ministries of Finance and the Kenya Revenue Authority to ensure they put in place modern technology for the clearance of goods,” he said.
“If I am approved, I will ensure that the Kenya Highway Authority put in place latest technology to make sure the weighing of goods is expedited,” Murkomen added.
Malaba border post has, for a long time, been characterized by endless queues of trucks extending as far as 25km along the Bungoma-Malaba highway.
The border town situated in Teso North District along the northern corridor serves as an entry point of goods to Uganda and as far as The Democratic Republic of Congo and Southern Sudan. This puts Malaba town on the map of Eastern Africa as a very important terminal.
Murkomen told the committee that he will initiate plans to put in place a parking so as to ease the congestion as trucks have been parking alongside the road as they await clearance.
The cabinet nominee mentioned that the parking will raise revenue for the country as they will put in place mechanisms for truck drivers to pay for the parking.
“The parking area along that border is congested and we are calling about the county government of Busia to invest in that so that we can create a supplement for parking and we can collect revenue from it,”said Murkomen.
This comes amidst plans by the Kenya Ports Authority to construct a 1.8 billion marshalling yard in the Malaba border that will create parking for the trucks.
In February, top Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) officials toured the 22-acre piece of land on which the yard will be built, to ascertain the project’s viability and ensure there is no encroachment that will hinder construction works on the property.
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