Business / Markets
Saturday, 28 May 2016 19:42 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
In a bid to rev up road construction and cut costs, the Trans Nzoia county government has purchased construction and maintenance equipment worth over Sh500 million.
Among the equipment bought were 10 graders, five tippers, excavators, mortar mixers, five drum rollers, five water bowsers, a bulldozer, two 15 ton lorries and a utility vehicle.
Receiving the equipment at Posta Grounds in Kitale Town on Wednesday, Governor Patrick Khaemba said the machinery will ease the cost and enhance timely rehabilitation of roads in the county.
The governor said the equipment will be distributed across the five sub counties so that each sub county can rehabilitate its own roads.
This means all roads in twenty five wards will be constructed and repaired by the county equipment.
The equipment was financed through a facility with Kenya Commercial Bank in a deal that was approved by the county assembly.
“This equipment will help us cut down on the costs of road maintenance, enable timely repair works on the roads besides curbing rogue road contractors, the governor said.
With the purchases, Trans Nzoia becomes the first county to formulate a strategy for state-led road maintenance, a plan that analysts believe will cut down costs and reduce corruption.
Road maintenance is a major source of corruption in county governments. In recent months, the Auditor General has raised queries regarding road projects in many counties, and in Machakos and Homa Bay private road contractors, many whose work is questionable, have staged big demonstrations to press for accrued payments.
Governor Khaemba assured genuine contractors that the equipment is not meant to deny them jobs, citing roads in Kitale Town and Kiminini Sub County which his government has awarded to private contractors.
Khaemba said sufficient plans had been made to ensure the equipment is well used and serviced, and the county government will hire 30 machine operators who will be trained by the supplier who has agreed to locate a spare parts shop in Kitale town.
The county government will also employ a manager to oversee operations of the machines including fuel distribution so that they operate optimally without undue burden to taxpayers.
Khaemba disclosed that committees involving members of the public will be established in the sub counties to help the program as well as oversee road rehabilitation activities at those levels.
He said this will ensure incorporation of public views and prioritization of road projects as per the needs of the people.
He warned public officers who collude with rogue contractors to defraud the government, and revealed that two officers have already been dismissed for flouting procurement laws.