President launches Jubilee’s 10,000km road plan

By PSCU

The Government Wednesday rolled out a new plan to tarmac 10,000 km of roads in five years.

This will nearly double the number of tarmacked roads from the current 14,000 km to 24,000 km.

Speaking at the launch of the programme, President Kenyatta said the Jubilee Government has decided to adopt the Annuity Financing Framework as a solution to myriads of challenges facing the infrastructure sector.

“Under this Annuity Programme, we will complete 2000km of small roads within 2014/2015 financial year. This will be followed by 3000km in 2015/2016 made up of 80 percent small roads, and 20 percent highways. In 2016/2017 financial year, we will complete 5000km, 80 percent of which will be small roads and 20 per cent highways,” the President.

He said the programme, which has been tested and proven in other countries, will help eliminate corruption which has been a major challenge in the sector.

“Weak contractual arrangements provided perfect opportunity for briefcase buccaneers and cowboy racketeers to masquerade as contractors while fleecing the taxpayers,” he said.

The President was accompanied by Deputy President William Ruto when he opened Road Infrastructure Development Stakeholders Conference at Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) in Nairobi.

He said wastage of public resources will be minimised when private firms are contracted to build roads and other infrastructure projects.

He added that the Government has taken decisive measures to ensure the country is transformed through infrastructural development.

He said the major challenge to the infrastructure transformation agenda was how to liberate the implementation of projects from our fiscal cycle.

“Budgeting for various projects varies from year to year, exerting serious disruptions,” the President said. “The other challenge facing the sector is the fact that the Exchequer can provide only so much funding for one sector, leaving many projects unattended”.

Deputy President Ruto said the new model is ideal to the Government as it allows every stakeholder to take responsibility while implementing road projects.

“In the past, the inefficiency or failure of the contractor forced the Government to ultimately carry the pain for that failure. Previously, when we had poor designs by the engineers, the Government picked the pain but through this model, contractors, engineers and the Government will account for what they have done,” said the Deputy President.

He said the annuity framework will deliver roads in a more transparent, efficient and cost effective way.

“We believe this model is going to bring on board the synergy and the energy that comes as a result of partners working together,” he said.

Other speakers were Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury Henry Rotich and his Transport and Infrastructure counterpart Eng Michael Kamau who said Government will ensure adequate funds are availed for the success of the programme which is win-win for all stakeholders.