The National Assembly Implementation Committee has urged for the speedy completion of the construction of the Ronald Ngala Utalii College in Kilifi County.
The Committee said the completion of the Kshs. 4.9 billion college will significantly contribute to the promotion of the tourism sector in the country.
The iconic college sitting on 59 acres of land whose construction started in 2013 was set to be completed in June 2019.
However, its completion has not met the set deadline due to several factors including delays of funds from the National Treasury and COVID-19 pandemic.
“The completion of this college is crucial to the tourism industry and will be tragic for this project to stall,” said Moitalel Ole Kenta committee chairman.
Speaking during the inspection of the construction works, Ole Kenta who is Narok North MP said the completion of the college was important considering the amount of resources that has gone into the project already.
“This project will help produce the relevant personnel needed in the hospitality sector. Coast region and the country at large stand to benefit from upon completion,” said the MP.
He observed that the college being funded by the national government will also complement the Kenya Utalii College in Nairobi which is experiencing overwhelming demand.
“You can’t delay a project for 20 years so that you can earn interest and penalties. That’s what is happening,” said Ole Kenta.
The MPs threatened to blacklist the contractors and consultants involved in the project should there be further delays.
Ole Kenta said the Tourism ministry should take firm charge of the project and ensure its completion.
The Chairman of the Tourism Fund Alphonse Kioko said the board was determined to complete the project and was ready to seek funds from other sources.
Kioko said initially the project was to be funded by the government and the Tourism Fund through its collection but added that this was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic that affected the whole sector.
He also said due to the delay, the Fund was forced to pay interests and penalties to the tune of Sh300 million which adversely affected the construction works of the college.
He disclosed that the contractor has agreed to grant a discount of the amount after a successful negotiation with the Board.
Edwin Odhiambo, a member of the Tourism Fund Management team said there was no way they could escape paying the penalties.
“In the contracts based on the law passed by parliament it is almost impossible to run away from the penalties and interests,” he said
“We wish you would pass a law that actually says after a certain amount of money then maybe we do not need to pay beyond that,” he told the Mps.