Economy

Roads spending exceeds budget by Sh5.5 billion

expressway

Nairobi Expressway along Waiyaki way, Westlands in this photo taken on April 16, 2022. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

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Summary

  • Data released by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani last Friday indicate the State Department of Infrastructure had spent Sh68.6 billion under development vote at the end of April.
  • The 10-month expenditure by the department, largely in charge of roads and bridges, is also Sh8.69 billion more than Sh59.91 billion initially approved last June before it was revised earlier in the year.
  • This means Mr Yatani will likely seek approval from lawmakers through a second supplementary vote to regularise the over-expenditure.

Expenditure on construction of roads has overshot the budget by more than Sh5.5 billion two months to the end of the financial year, the Treasury filings show.

Data released by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani last Friday indicate the State Department of Infrastructure had spent Sh68.6 billion under development vote at the end of April compared with revised full-year budget of Sh63.04 billion.

The 10-month expenditure by the department, largely in charge of roads and bridges, is also Sh8.69 billion more than Sh59.91 billion initially approved last June before it was revised earlier in the year through the first supplementary budget.

This means Mr Yatani will likely seek approval from lawmakers through a second supplementary vote to regularise the over-expenditure which, under the Public Finance Management Act, should not exceed 10 percent of the total budget passed.

Nairobi Expressway

This comes at a time Infrastructure and Transport Cabinet secretary James Macharia disclosed that the ministry will be seeking Sh9 billion to rehabilitate sections of Mombasa Road, Uhuru Highway and Waiyaki Way that were destroyed following the construction of 27.1-kilometre the Nairobi Expressway.

“We are going to enhance the old road, all the way from Mlolongo to Westlands, to make sure that motorists who do not use the expressway also have a more beautified enhanced road,” said Mr Macharia during a media tour of the new road on May 14.

“We are finalising a contract of Sh9 billion to make sure we beautify the old road. It makes sense to have the contractor who was doing the expressway rehabilitate the old road.”

Road infrastructure has been one of the priority projects under President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration, although it has come with the burden of increased debt load on taxpayers largely through loans contracted from China.

The latest progress report from the Infrastructure department shows that a total of 3,214 kilometres of road were constructed in two financial years through June 2021, surpassing a goal of 2,707 kilometres.

In a bid to ease pressure on government revenue, the government has in recent years cranked up construction of road projects under the Public-Private Partnerships framework.

The PPP framework allows private investors to own infrastructural projects for a given period to recoup their funds before ceding the ownership to the State.

The most notable mega road project under the build-operate-transfer (BoT) framework include 27.1 km of the Nairobi Expressway linking Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to the James Gichuru junction on Waiyaki Way.

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