Tourism Fund boss has assured industry stakeholders that the government is committed to the completion of the Ronald Ngala Utalii College at the Coast.
The college which is being constructed at Vipingo in Kilifi County has been dogged by controversy following claims that the cost was varied by over Sh7 billion from what the Cabinet had approved.
Last month, MPs were also not happy that a consultant who did the architectural designs for the college charged over Sh800 million.
Public Investments Committee members also wanted to know why the consultant failed to reduce the fee after cost had been revised to Sh4.9 billion.
Friday, Tourism Fund acting managing director Joseph Cherutoi, said in the financial year 2016/2017, the government has allocated Sh300 million for the college project.
He added that the Tourism Fund was committing Sh1 billion in the next financial year in support of the ongoing construction at the college.
Mr Cherutoi said the implementation of the first phase was currently at 37 per cent, adding that the project is expected to be completed by 2018.
The first phase entails the construction of two tuition blocks, two hostels, an administration block and staff-quarters.
“I want to assure tourism stakeholders from across the country that the construction of the Ronald Ngala Utalii College is progressing well. The government is determined to complete the project and that is the reason why Sh1.3 billion has been committed to the college in the next financial year,” Mr Cherutoi said.
Tourism Fund boss said leaders should stop politicizing the project, adding that when the construction of the college is completed it would benefit students and hotel workers from around the country.
“That the college is being built at the Coast does not mean that students from other parts of the country will not benefit from training. The institution is a national asset,” he said.
He explained that when the college is completed in 2018, it would create more training opportunities to students and workers in the hospitality industry.
Mr Cherutoi said the Kenya Utalii College in Nairobi can no longer meet the demand of students and hotel workers seeking training opportunities and that was why the government decided to build a second one.
The Tourism Fund boss was reacting to questions from tourism stakeholders at Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort in Mombasa on Friday during a Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers Association annual symposium.
Earlier, Kenya Coast Tourism Association chairman Mohamed Hersi wanted to know whether the college project was still ongoing or had stalled due to the raging controversy.
(Editing by Joel Muinde)