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State doing badly as projects worth over Sh366bn stall

Thursday February 14 2019

development

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

DAVID MWERE
By DAVID MWERE
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National government projects across the country estimated at Sh366 billion have stalled, according to a report presented to the National Assembly by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich.

The report, which was tabled in the House yesterday by Majority Leader Aden Duale, is a consolidated submission from ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) on the status of projects being implemented.

The National Assembly on November 15, 2018 and Treasury’s circular of August 31, 2018 required details of stalled capital projects for submission to the House.

This was informed by fears that huge amounts of money are being sunk into projects that are either delayed in implementation or are never completed.

The report shows that Sh72.5 billion has been spent, with Sh293.4 billion outstanding costs, even as the National Treasury appealed to Parliament to direct on the way forward.

Financing of the projects also have a donor component of about Sh79 billion.

BIG FOUR

At least 545 projects were launched by the government with the sole purpose of creating jobs for the youth as well as improving the economy.

The most affected are dams for irrigation, roads, learning institutions, crop research and construction of courts, among others.

With the latest revelations, it is feared that the government's development objective may not be realised due to its spending on pointless projects.

Of concern also is the possibility of lawsuits over breach of contract due to delayed completion arising from failure to release funds on time and extension of deadlines, among others.

Mr Rotich notes that majority of the projects have stalled due to realignment of the budget to fund the Big Four Agenda and devolution

Other reasons for the projects’ stalling are budget rationalisation, lack of funds, budgetary constraints and low budget ceiling due to allocation to finance pending bills.

VIABILITY

Contractors withdrawing from the sites due to non-payment, delays in obtaining development approvals from the national and county governments, termination of contracts, re-scoping of works, suspension and failure to allocate funds are other factors.

To address the situation, Mr Rotich now wants the State to prioritise spending only on projects that are viable.

“MDAs are expected to rationalise and prioritise viable stalled projects for implementation,” Mr Rotich says in the circular to MPs.

“The implementation must be done in a phased-out manner within the budget ceilings provided from time to time,” he notes.

The tabling of the report comes after President Uhuru Kenyatta on July 20, 2018 issued a directive freezing all new government projects until ongoing ones are completed.

CORRUPTION

President Kenyatta said projects that will be exempted from the freeze will be those that are directly aligned to the Big Four Agenda — affordable housing, basic healthcare, food security and manufacturing.

The projects will, however, be required to get written authorisation from the National Treasury before they are launched and implemented.

The President’s order was informed by massive corruption in government that has led to drainage of public funds into the pockets of a few individuals.

At the risk of stalling are 10 projects worth Sh79.1 billion under the Transport department.

They are the Greenfields terminal at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), washrooms and security offices at Wilson Airport and rehabilitation of airstrips in Nanyuki, Tseikuru and Voi, among others.

VICTIMS

Ewaso Ng’iro North Development Authority (Sh51.8bn), Department for Crop Development (Sh43bn) and Crime Data Repository Unit (Sh27bn) are among projects that have stalled.

There is also Sh4.1 billion under the Housing and Urban Development Department for construction of markets and sewer lines across the country.

Others are water dams worth Sh15.1 billion under the Water and Sanitation ministry, roads and construction of district headquarters at Sh14.9 billion and Sh11.2 billion for upgrading and integration of pensions management.

Installation of security system, infrastructure finance and public private participation under the National Treasury are also affected.