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  • Last Update April 14, 2024 9:48 PM
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Government keen to fast-track infrastructure projects

Government keen to fast-track infrastructure projects


Thursday, March 28, 2024

KNA by Hussein Abdullahi

The government is committed to speeding up the delivery of major infrastructure projects in the counties through the National Government Development-County Implementation, Coordination and Management Committees (NGD-CICMC).

Kwale County Commissioner Stephen Orinde said that it is the desire of the government to complete mega projects as quickly as possible to realize their full potential in supporting the economy.

Orinde said the government would not waver from its goals to have the right infrastructure in place now and in the future by increasing community engagement and making environmental protections more effective.

Key ongoing projects by the national government in Kwale are the Sh20 billion Mwache multipurpose dam project, Sh24 billion master class Dongo Kundu bypass, the Sh2. 3 billion Diani Airport rehabilitation and expansion project and the Sh2.6 billion Shimoni fish port development project.

Others are the Sh1.15 billion Funzi causeway off Milalani -Munja road, the construction of the Sh3 billion Kwale-Kinango road, the Sh.606 million regional maritime transports and port logistics centre and the Sh.538 million Mwachande Bridge that seeks to connect Msambweni and Lungalunga sub counties.

Orinde says the large-scale infrastructure projects in the coastal county traverse an area where fishing, agriculture and tourism are the main economic activities.

The county administrator said the projects would help create new jobs, improve opportunities for businesspeople and boost local economies.

“As the NGD-CICMC, we are determined to speed up the delivery of major infrastructure projects so that they support the government’s ambitions for economic growth and improving connectivity and transport links,” he said.

He expressed satisfaction with the quality of works done so far and said the government was committed to the completion of the entire projects in the coastal county.

However, NGD-CICMC members under the leadership of CC Orinde expressed concern over the slow pace of work of some of the mega infrastructure projects taking shape in the county.

The NGD-CICMC meeting noted that many of the development projects were running behind schedule mainly due to funding, complexity over designs, inadequate scope description, and planning and land acquisition.

Orinde said the issue of slow progress of physical work would be escalated to the the Coast Regional Implementation Coordination and Management Committee (NGD-RICMC) for onward transmission to the National Development Implementation Committee (NDIC) for action.

Officials of project implementation agencies have told NGD-CICMC meetings that many of the infrastructure projects were lagging behind due to inordinate delays of payment to contractors.

Orinde however said some mega projects such as the Dongo Kundu bypass and the Shimoni fishing port project were nearing completion and that their implementation rate was better.

Eng. Onesmus Ikoa of Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) informed the forum that the iconic Funzi island causeway project risked stalling after the contractor abandoned work.

Eng. Ikoa noted that the Funzi causeway spanning 500 meters and two-kilometer road promised the island dwellers public access to the mainland in Msambweni Sub County.

He said the contractor has received Sh95 million as advanced payment and the scope of works involved construction of vented causeway, and improvement of approach roads to gravel standard of Funzi Causeway.

“The contractor, Cementers Ltd, has all but pulled out and we are contemplating terminating the contract altogether and looking for a different contractor to execute the project,” he said adding that the 24 months contract period has elapsed against a 12.54 percent physical progress.

Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) Coast Region official Eng. Lewis Maina says the Dongo Kundu bypass would provide road connectivity to the South Coast and the Dongo Kundu special economic zone for socio-economic development.

“The Special Economic Zone Development project at Dongo Kundu is one of the Vision 2030 flagship projects in the coastal region,” he said.

Eng. Maina said the Dongo Kundy bypass was an important transport corridor for traffic destined to the interior of Kenya and beyond.

He said the project straddles Kwale and Mombasa counties and starts at Mteza Bridge and terminates at Kibundani along the Mombasa-Lungalunga highway.

“It will also provide connection from the Moi International Airport and SGR terminus hence improving tourism and hospitality in Kwale,” he said.

Eng. Maina says the bypass, also known as the Mombasa Southern Bypass Highway, would promote trade facilitation and improve socio economic development.

He says the Kwale-Kinango road project is approximately 30 km long and the scope of work entailed construction to bitumen standards of a two-lane single carriageway.

“The contractor has mobilized well for the works with the majority of the required equipment and plant already on site but has requested for an extension of completion period due to insufficient budgetary allocation,” said Eng. Maina.

On the Shimoni fishing port project, Kenya Ports Authority official Kenneth Mosop says the project is well on course but lacks water connection.

“The water connection is supposed to be done by the Coast Water Works Development Agency at a cost of Sh318 million,” he said.

Mosop noted that the water agency has not been able to undertake the fresh water project due to lack of funds thus threatening to derail the fish port development project.

“The project status at the moment is at 40 % complete and that the contractor Southern Engineering Company Ltd has increased the speed of work,” said Mosop adding that the project’s end date is September 2024.

He said the project faced challenges such as variation of designs due to the design review process including rapid technological changes and advancements hence causing delays.

On her part, Kenya Coast National Polytechnic Principal Mary Muthoka says the Sh606 million Regional Maritime Transports and Port Logistics Centre affiliated to her institution stands at 76 percent completion rate.

But she says the contractor who was to hand over the project in August this year was unlikely to meet the scheduled deadline due to funding challenges.

Benjamin Ndani who is in charge of the Government Delivery Service (GDS) in Kwale says they are hopeful that the ongoing development projects would keep their initial completion dates and deliver economic growth as envisioned.

Ndani says the government would work closely with the contractors to bring ease to payments and that in spite of the myriad challenges physical infrastructure projects were progressing as per schedule.

He said the government would provide the funds and is committed to speeding up the delivery of critical infrastructure and that ongoing projects would be strengthened and improved.

He noted that one of the key success factors of major infrastructure projects is when their planning involved people who would benefit or be affected by the project.

“The government delivery agency will ‘pull out all the stops’ and ensure infrastructure projects falling behind schedule would be speeded up,” said Ndani.

He says the national government has initiated multibillion shillings infrastructure projects in the coastal region in a bid to address entrenched infrastructure deficit.

Courtesy; KNA

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