Sinohydro Corporation, the Chinese company constructing the Nairobi-Thika highway is protesting against the delay in payment of US$29 million by the government of Kenya.
Song Qinggang, a senior official at Sinohydro said the state-owned corporation is yet to receive payments for works on phase two of the road project forcing it to use its resources to complete the remaining section.
“We have been forced to use our internal resources because we do not want to stop the works (on the 14.1 km section),” said Qinggang.
The government has however said the delay is as result of the project engineers’ failure to present the certificate of completion of the works that will show the amount of work done to enable release of the money.
According to the Business Daily newspaper, a project leader attached to the roads ministry said some of the certificates of works forwarded by Sinohydro were yet to be approved due to the delayed inspection of works leading to the delayed release of funds.
The project which was estimated initially at US$317 million is jointly funded by the Africa Development Bank, China Exim Bank and the Kenyan government. The banks had committed 80 per cent of the total project cost with the government raising the remaining amount.
The cost has since increased by over 20 per cent due to the escalation in the cost of materials in the world market thereby increasing the financial burden for the government.
Treasury Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua has however assured the public that the government has sufficient funds to pay the contractors.
“We have enough money to pay the contractors. The ministry of roads may have exhausted the government funding component of the road but they are yet to let use know. If that may be the case, then the money should be paid in the month of July,” said Kinyua.
Thika road construction is nearing completion and Sinohydro officials have assured the public that the project will not be affected by the delay in payment.