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Contractors’ inadequate capacity drawback to projects


It has now emerged that 80 percent of all ongoing national government projects in North Eastern region have stalled partly because the contractors lack the capacity to undertake them.

In a report presented by area regional commissioner John Otieno to the National Development and Implementation Committee (NDIC) in October some 10 projects that are yet to be completed across the region require urgent interventions before they become ‘white elephants’.

Some projects include the construction of twin workshop, classrooms and office block for the proposed Wajir North Technical and Vocational Training College and Balamabla TVET.

Speaking when he chaired the Regional Implementation Coordination and Monitoring Committee (RICMC) Otieno said that the problem has further been compounded by either failure or deliberate lack of supervision by government engineers and officials of departments undertaking the projects.

“Some government officials tasked with monitoring the projects have failed in their duties and the law will soon catch up those who are colluding with contractors to defraud the government,” Otieno said.

“The national government is implementing a number of projects across the region whose aim is to impact on the socio-economic status of area residents. When the project stall midway, then the citizens are not getting value for money invested in the projects,” Otieno added.

In his brief to RICMC, the government delivery service senior director Mahat Shalle said that some government officials entrusted with supervising the projects could be ‘colluding with the contractors’ to defraud the government by asking for unrealistic variation of the sum-contract.

Shalle who is the secretary to the committee and in charge of Eastern and North Eastern region counties said some of the projects dates back to 2015 and to date remain incomplete.

The senior director gave the example of the construction of twin workshop, classrooms and office block for the proposed Wajir North Technical and Vocational Training College where the contractor was overpaid by over Sh10 million while the project was only 32 percent complete.

He said that the committee recommended that since the contractor had no capacity to complete the works, the contract should be terminated, re-tendered while the overpaid sum of Sh10 million and any other charges applicable should be recovered.

The project whose cost was 47.9 million started on 8th February 2019 and was to be completed on 31st March 2019.

“Its common sense that a contractor cannot be paid without the supervising engineer issuing a completion certificate. It is obvious in this case that there was collusion,” Shalle said.

He said in some of the projects the contractors are asking for unrealistic variation in the contract sum.

“In the Sh 52 million stalled Balamabla TVET project, the contractor is seeking for Sh 11 million variation. In the construction of the Sh 1.4 billion Mandera water supply infrastructure, the contractor who has already been paid shs 800 million is asking for a variation of Sh300 million. The project is incomplete and stalled,” Shalle said.

Shalle said that the committee has no interest in these projects and wants to ensure that they are completed as per specifications on the contract for the benefit of the region’s residents.

He noted that the PSs whose ministries the projects fall were present during the October meeting and took up the matter for the further action.

He said that the government is keen in re-opening of the Garissa passport services office and the public works department came up with Sh 20 million estimate to renovate the old Garissa law courts offices.

Shalle said the PSs interior and immigration have been requested to fast-track the availability of funds to ensure that offices are opened the soonest time possible.