The Kenya Power company has said it will give priority to local manufacturers and suppliers of electrical equipment in the implementation of the multi-billion last mile connectivity project that is meant to accelerate access to electricity locally.
In a notice published Tuesday, Kenya Power urged local traders to bid to supply materials needed for the project which include treated wooden poles, conductors, cables, insulators, bolts and nuts.
“The company wishes to take this opportunity to support local industries and manufacturers by encouraging them to prepare to supply some of the items required by the contractors for this project,” read the notice.
The last mile connectivity project targets to increase the country’s access to electricity from the current 40 per cent to 70 per cent in its first phase and eventually lead to universal access in subsequent phases.
In December 2015, the company signed contracts with 11 companies that are tasked with the implementation of the first phase that will run for a period of 18 months at a cost of Sh13.5 billion funded through a loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB).
It will involve connecting 314,000 households within a radius of 600 metres from a transformer to the power grid at a cost of Sh15,000 each.
NO SPECIFIC QUOTA
According to Mr Stanley Mutwiri, Kenya Power’s general manager in charge of infrastructure development, the company has, however, not set any specific quota for local suppliers as they will compete with their international counterparts.
“If local companies have the capability to supply all what we need then we will source the materials from them.
“Otherwise, all suppliers will be subjected to a tender process where the best will be contracted,” said Mr Mutwiri in a telephone interview.
An estimated 480,000 pieces of treated poles and 48,000 kilometres of conductors and cables are required for the project.
There are only about five certified cable manufacturers in the country with capacity to provide a maximum of 60 kilometres of cables and conductors a day, which is below the required quantity, according to industry sources.