We will reject your bids, minister warns Kenyan road contractors

Chinese contractors have been hailed for the quality of their work. PHOTO/FILE
Chinese contractors have been hailed for the quality of their work. PHOTO/FILE
The State has threatened to reject road construction bids from local contractors amid rising complaints about the quality of their work.

Transport cabinet secretary James Macharia says his ministry is considering giving all road construction tenders to foreigners following consistent disappointments by locals.

Mr Macharia reprimanded local firms for endlessly complaining that the government has been favouring foreign contractors, yet they consistently fail to deliver when called upon to do so.

“We have been working very hard as a government to implement development projects and we will not allow contractors to derail our agenda,” Mr Macharia said.

Mr Macharia cited the 42-km Gitugi-Mioro road in Mathioya, Murang’a, saying it has been under construction for the last five years under Nyoro Construction and it is yet to be completed.

He said he had received numerous complaints from locals on the delayed completion of the project.

During his visit to Murang’a last month, President Uhuru Kenyatta gave a one month ultimatum to contractor to complete the project failing which the tender would be cancelled.

Mr Macharia pledged to visit the project by end of this month to establish the progress and determine the next course of action.

Chinese firms have reportedly scooped more than 75 per cent of the lucrative government contracts – much to the chagrin of local contractors who claim the State has been favouring foreigners.

The locals have accused the government of raising the demands on firms during the tendering process, for instance, requiring experience on big projects – which most local contractors lack due to many years of underinvestment in the sector.

“Most of the foreign contractors are state enterprises which enjoy subsidies that enable them to undercut local firms during bidding,” the contractors said in an earlier press statement.

However, the workmanship of foreign contractors, especially the Chinese, has consistently received much accolades from citizens and government officials.

READ: Chinese builders receive accolades in Kenya for mega projects

Kenyan contractors have, on the other hand, received negative comments from members of the public due to their poor workmanship that has seen rising incidents of collapse of buildings and incomplete projects.

Meanwhile, the government will launch the construction of 2,500 kilometres of roads before the forthcoming General Election. Infrastructure PS John Mosonik says the project is part of the “10,000km programme” of low volume traffic roads.

“A total of 2,327 kilometres of roads in 30 counties are being built while an additional 2,500 kilometres are under evaluation and will be launched in early 2017,” Mr Mosonik said in a brief seen by reporters.

The document indicated that the State had paved 2,302 kilometres of road in three years – which translates to an average of 767 kilometres annually.