The Kisumu County Government is rolling out a Sh600 million fund to maintain roads in a programme meant to cover about 350 kilometres across the seven sub-counties.
The county government announced that tenders for the construction and repair of roads had already been awarded and the works launched.
“We are finalising the county policy on roads maintenance teams and beginning its implementation while continuing with road construction projects,” Governor Anyang' Nyong’o said.
He noted that the youth will secure jobs through the road maintenance teams.
“We shall launch the implementation of the village councils’ initiative upon conclusion of the legislation process to ensure labour based contracts are awarded to the youth to maintain the roads after they are done,” he said.
Roads, Transport and Public Works executive Thomas Ondijo said selected youth and some staff will be sent for training at the Kenya Institute of Highway and Building Technology in Kisii County to acquire more skills to ensure proper maintenance of the roads.
“We won’t compromise on quality. We are giving notice to all the contractors doing the works that we shall not hesitate to recall their performance bonds and even blacklist them should they fail to ensure value for our money,” Mr Ondijo said.
He added that Sh230 million from the Kenya Roads Board had been set aside for projects.
“Another more than Sh350 million from County Revenue Fund kitty will be spent to develop the roads to enhance transport of people, goods and services,” Mr Ondijo noted.
The projects, the county minister noted will be implemented in all the sub-counties of Nyakach, Seme, Kisumu West, Kisumu Central, Nyando, Kisumu East and Muhoroni.
Prof Nyong’o said good infrastructure is key in enabling Kisumu achieve its great socioeconomic potential.
In his manifesto, he acknowledged that “Kisumu County’s physical infrastructure was dilapidated and has significantly contributed to high cost of doing business in the county”.
In the 2018/2019 financial year plan, rehabilitation of feeder roads and construction of others to ensure accessibility will be key.
Mr Ondijo on Thursday said that road networks, particularly in the sugar belt, rice growing zones and those connecting major towns, will be done for easy transportation of goods and services.
He revealed that in the next financial year, 2019/2020, Governor Nyong’o plans to acquire road machinery through the village councils and train maintenance teams from tertiary institutions to manage the roads.
“A policy document to actualise this is already in place and the move will also ensure capacity building of the youth,” he said.
Governor Nyong’o had earlier announced plans to introduce project committees charged with ensuring that contractors working on public infrastructure projects do proper work.
The committees, he noted, would certify the works before the contractors are paid.
“This will ensure reversal of a trend of contractors walking away with millions for projects that crumble as soon as they leave site,” the Governor said.