Kericho contractors say govt, big companies sidelining them

Tuesday November 22 2016

Kericho County Contractors and Suppliers

Kericho County Contractors and Suppliers Association Chairman Dickson Morit addresses journalists in Kericho Town on November 22, 2016. He accused private companies and national government parastatals of sidelining local contractors when awarding contracts in the county, a practice he said is discriminatory. PHOTO | TIMOTHY KEMEI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By TIMOTHY KEMEI
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Contractors in Kericho County have accused private companies and national government parastatals with operations in the county of sidelining them and awarding most lucrative tenders and contracts to business people and contractors from outside the county.

Speaking to journalists in Kericho, Kericho County Contractors and Suppliers Association Chairman Dickson Morit and Secretary-General Elijah Rono said local contractors felt like they were only being left with ‘crumbs’ after being awarded minor contracts which do not come with a lot of money.

“We are not happy that most of these firms are outsourcing services and we are calling on them to stop looking down on us. We have capable suppliers and contractors who can provide quality goods and services,” said Mr Morit.

He added that the association, which was recently launched in a colourful ceremony attended by Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony and county executives Charles Birech (Roads) and Patrick Mutai (Finance), will soon get in touch with the companies in question to discuss the issue.

Mr Morit noted that the contractors decided to register the association to help them push for prompt payment for work done and at the same time advocate for equality and fairness in the awarding of tenders by the county government of Kericho and local firms.

GET EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

“There are often hiccups during the awarding of tenders by the county government and when we formed the association, it was also to ensure that each one of us gets an equal opportunity to win the tenders. We also have some challenges with corruption,” added Mr Morit.

Mr Morit said the association currently has 300 members, though the total number of contractors operating in the county are more than a thousand.

The association’s chairman expressed confidence that the others will soon register as members.

On his part, Mr Rono urged the county government of Kericho to increase the percentage of works awarded to local contractors and suppliers from the current 60 per cent to 90 per cent.

UPLIFT YOUNG CONTRACTORS

“We want most of the contracts to go to local contractors because most of them are young contractors and are finding it difficult to get such contracts in other areas. Many young people are still idle when they can get work to do in the county,” he said.

Governor Chepkwony said that the county is committed to supporting locally owned companies and insisted that most of the contracts being awarded by the county government have been given to local companies in a bid to boost young entrepreneurs.

“My government has in the last four years created almost a hundred millionaires in Kericho.

“Many young people, women and persons with disabilities have benefitted from the county government and we will continue supporting them,” he said.

The county boss directed the Finance department to ensure that contractors are promptly paid once they complete the work awarded to them.