Big4 project launches dominate Uhuru’s last days in office

uhuru

His affable demeanor almost a decade ago may have faded slightly courtesy of the rift that has rocked his political strongholds, but President Uhuru Kenyatta matches on as the sun sets on his reign.

From the capital Nairobi, to the shores of Lake Victoria, Rift Valley, the coast and central region, President Uhuru has been a busy man amid highly charged political campaign period.

The projects launched by the Head of State have majorly focused on infrastructure and Big 4 agenda launched in 2017 to include affordable healthcare, food and nutrition security, affordable housing and manufacturing.

In the run-up to the August 9 polls, the President has also been involved in backing his coalition candidate, Raila Odinga despite chides from his former allies turn-opponents in the hotly contested race to State House.

Decongesting Nairobi

The President closed the month of July with the launch of the the 27.8km Nairobi Eastern Bypass Road which was expanded from a single 2-lane road to a dual 4-lane carriageway at a cost of Ksh 12.5 billion.

The infrastructure is one of the last bypasses which have been constructed by two administration beginning with the Mwai Kibaki presidency in a bid to decongest Nairobi City.

The bypass connects Mombasa Road to Thika Super Highway at Kamakis, traversing through Embakasi, Utawala, Ruai and Ruiru towns.

The completion of Eastern Bypass now marks the end of Nairobi CBD decongestion plans having completed the Southern Bypass which links Mombasa Road to Gitaru in Kimabu County, Western Bypass which connects Gitaru and Ruaka and the Northern Bypass which connects Limuru Road and Thika Road.

The city projects are part of billions of shillings President Uhuru’s administration has spent to improve the country’s infrastructure projects which are aimed at enhancing efficient, faster and safe delivery of goods and services.

The end of July also marked the official launch of the 27km Nairobi Expressway which has been under construction in record two years.

Nairobi Expressway. PHOTO | State House Kenya

The road which has been on trial basis since May 15, 2022 was constructed under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement with the China Road and Bridge Corporation, the investors in the project expected to recoup their investments through seven toll station erected on the road in various sections.

The road constructed at a cost of Ksh 7 billion ($599 million) was constructed to ease congestion with Nairobi CBD and easy access to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and Standard Gauge Railway Nairobi Station runs from from Mlolongo through Uhuru Highway to James Gichuru Road junction in Westlands.

The Nairobi Expressway which is the largest PPP road project in Africa is expected to serve 45,000 vehicles daily, and has reduced travel time on the stretch to about 20 minutes from two hours previously.

“This singular project secures Nairobi’s status as yhe region’s capital and economic nerve centre and, therefore, strengthening Kenya’s position as Eastern and Central Africa’s commercial and diplomatic hub,” said President Kenyatta.

The infrastructure projects in Nairobi City are now expected to cut an estimated Ksh 5 billion lost annually through low productivity and fuel as a result of traffic jams.

Food security

In the quest to boost food security and enhance access to clean and safe water, the Head of State also commissioned Karimenu II Dam in Gatundu North Constituency at the beginning of August.

Karimenu II Dam. PHOTO | State House Kenya

The Ksh 24 billion which sits on a 600-acre piece of land is expected to supply 70 million litres of clean water daily to at least 850,000 households in Ruiru, Juja, Gatundu and parts of Nairobi.

Railway

As one of his key projects, railway development has taken a huge part of infrastructure budget during President Uhuru’s reign.

One of his last projects under railway was the commissioning of a new ultra-modern Kisumu Railway Station located along Busia Road.

The new station is expected to enhance rail travel between Nairobi City, Nakuru City and Kisumu City after rehabilitation of the meter gauge railway which has since seen the reintroduction of day and night passenger services.

The new ultra-modern Kisumu Railway Station. PHOTO | State House Kenya

Under railway, the president also opened th new Chaka Railway Station, rehabilitated Thika-Nanyuki MGR line and the Chaka Industrial Hub in Nyeri County

The new station also boast of a 50,000 square feet of space to allow traders sell their goods within the facility.

Manufacturing

The launches also included manufacturing projects by both private and public entities given that the sector is part of the Big 4 agenda.

Under the agenda launched in October 2017, the Jubilee Administration had targeted to raise manufacturing contribution to GDP from 8.5pc to 15pc, create at least 1 million jobs and attract foreign direct investments amounting to $3.8 billion.

While much has been done to achieve this, the President continued to oversee projects under the agenda as he reaches tail end of his rule.

President Uhuru oversaw the launch of Dada Export Processing Zone Limited which manufactures garments for exports. The facility is expected to create hundreds of jobs especially to women in Kisumu.

President Uhuru oversaw the launch of Dada Export Processing Zone Limited which manufactures garments for exports PHOTO | State House Kenya

He also saw the inauguration of the Kenya Shipyards Limited and the floatation of MV Uhuru II wagon ferry, the first locally manufactured ship since the rehabilitation of the facility which is now run by the Kenya Defense Forces.

The ship which cost Ksh 2.4 billion was constructed in collaboration with Dutch firm, Damen Shipyards.

Deployment of the vessel is backed to boost Kisumu Port haulage capacity to over 3060 tonnes by complementing 1260 tonnes, 1966 assembled MV Uhuru I.

President Uhuru also inspected to the rehabilitation works at Nzoia Sugar Company which has been a beneficiary of state-backed bailout scheme.

There, he announced a Ksh 500 million bailout package to the state miller of which Ksh 450 million will be spent of clearing arrears owed to farmers ad Ksh 50 million to factory employees.

Other factories visited by the President include Kenya’s first agriculture hub in Makueni County, Eni Kenya which manufactures vegetable oil and related bio-product and has already employed 200 locals.

PHOTO | State House Kenya

The factory was launched on the backdrop of an agreement signed with the Italian firm in July last year to promote circular economy by setting up 20 such hubs across the country.

Other projects launched include the Liwatoni Fishing Complex in Mombasa County, a fishing processing plant with a capacity to produce 10,000 metric tonnes of fish annually.

Infrastructure

Other projects launched by the president during his last month in office include commissioning of the Ksh 4.5 billion Makupa Bridge, Makuppa Railway Bridge and MGR line from Mombasa Central Station to SGR Terminus in Miritini in Mombasa County.

He also oversaw the official opening of the Ksh 40 billion offshore Kipevu Oil Terminal also known as Kipevu II which was constructed as parts of government’s efforts to lower fuel prices by cutting losses estimated at Ksh 2 billion annually incurred in demurrage costs.

The 770-meter long jetty has a capacity to load and offload sea tankers of up to 200,000DWT.

Health

In Othaya, Nyeri County, President Kenyatta oversaw the official launch of the Ksh 1 billion Mwai Kibaki Level 6 Hospital and its 2.6 million litre a day oxygen production unit.

President Uhuru Kenyatta opened the Mwai Kibaki Level 6 hospital and its 2.6 million litre a day oxygen production unit in Othaya, Nyeri County. PHOTO | State House Kenya

The Head of State also broke ground for construction of a Comprehensive Cancer Management Centre at Dedan Kimathi University in the county. The project which is jointly funded with the Government of Hungary will provide advanced cancer care covering prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship and end-of-life care services.

Other projects include the National Defense University Kenya, the first of its kind in eastern and central African region,

  

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