President Kibaki has restated the government’s commitment towards infrastructure development in Kenya.
He was speaking during the launch of the Shs 6.8 billion Kendu Bay – Homa Bay and Homa Bay-Mbita road upgrading projects in Kisumu on Friday.
President Kibaki said the 38 kilometres Kendu Bay-Homa Bay road will cost Kshs 3.4 billion while the 43 kilometres Homa Bay-Mbita road will also cost Kshs 3.4 billion to upgrade to bitumen standards, adding that the two projects are fully funded by the government.
“Construction work for each of these projects will be undertaken over a period of 30 months. I expect the contractors to complete the upgrading of the roads within the stated contract period,” the President said.
The President emphasised that together with Prime Minister Raila Odinga, they are determined to serve Kenyans and bring about economic, social and political reforms needed to transform the country into a modern society, adding that the Grand Coalition Government is fully committed to the agenda of empowering Kenyans in all ways.
On the Migingo Island, President Kibaki said the government is working out modalities with Uganda to resolve the issue amicably.
The Head of State said no delays in delivering the projects on time will be tolerated as they deny the country the much needed accessibility and faster movement of people and goods in the development process.
In this regard, the President asked all contractors working on the two projects and other projects in the country to ensure that their assignments are completed on time so as to reduce cost overruns and save funds for use in other projects.
“The government’s decision to upgrade these roads arises from the desire to provide all weather roads in this part of the country, in order to facilitate good access to production and marketing centres.”
Noting that poor work by contractors is partly responsible for the short life of the country’s roads despite the huge sums of money spent, President Kibaki stressed that the culture of shoddy work must stop.
He directed the Ministry of Roads to put in place proper, adequate and consistent mechanisms to ensure that the public gets value for its money by ensuring quality construction and regular maintenance of all roads throughout the country.
“This will give our tax payers the value for their money in form of much longer usage of good roads.”
The President also commended the Roads 2000- programme for creating employment for the youth and assured that his government will support the programme even further by strengthening and expanding training of the youth in road improvement and maintenance.
“This approach will encourage our young people to become successful small-scale contractors and later grow to become large contractors in road construction and maintenance.”
President Kibaki said that the recent launch of Kazi kwa vijana is an indication of the Government’s commitment to support the youth through creation of additional employment opportunities.
Saying the rate of accidents arising from better roads are unacceptable, President Kibaki called on all motorists to exercise maximum caution especially on modern roads by observing the established speed limits.
“I note with great concern that even as we continue to improve our roads, road-traffic accidents continue to claim many lives. Good roads are expected to bring greater utility, comfort and safety,” the President said.
In this connection, President Kibaki directed the Commissioner of Police to fully enforce traffic laws for the good and safety of wananchi and all motorists.
Speaking during the occasion, the Prime Minister said the Grand Coalition Government will not waver in its commitment to serve Kenya and urged Kenyans to unite and support it to achieve the country’s development goals.
The Prime Minister also pointed out that the Grand Coalition Government will continue implementing various reforms geared towards improving the lives of Kenyans.
He disclosed that this financial year the Government has set aside Sh50 billion for construction and rehabilitation of roads in various parts of the country.
On his part, Roads minister Franklin Bett stressed the need for wananchi to involve themselves in road projects from the planning stage so that they do not complain once the projects take off.
Mr Bett also said Local Authorities should not seek compensation for roads constructed in their areas by the Government, saying construction of roads in Murang’a have been stopped until the issue is sorted out.
Present were ministers: Dalmas Otieno, Prof George Saitoti, Prof Sam Ongeri, Otieno Kajwang, James Orengo, Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o, John Munyes, Dr Naomi Shabaan, Beth Mugo, Chris Obure and Fred Gumo, several Assistant ministers and MPs.