Rethink budget cuts for the road projects


Motorists drive through a section of the Mtwapa-Kilifi Road where a culvert is under construction in this photo taken on February 19, 2023. The ongoing dualling of the 40 km road was launched by President William Ruto. FILE PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

The scaling down of budgets for road projects initiated during the Uhuru Kenyatta regime as part of austerity should be approached with caution to prevent the country from ending up with many white elephants.

Treasury documents show the budget for building roads and bridges has been slashed from Sh103.47 billion to Sh77.94 billion in the supplementary budget as the State cut the number of kilometres by as much as 75 percent.

The trend looks set to run into the new financial year that starts in July, with the new regime cutting down the funding for roads such as the Lamu-Garissa road whose allocation has been cut from Sh2.87 billion to Sh75 million.

While it is good practice to cut one's coat according to his cloth, President William Ruto administration should be cautious not to end up with half-done projects dotting the country.

Cancelling or scaling down also negates the Kenya Kwanza commitment in its manifesto to complete all roads under construction.

Taxpayers expects infrastructural projects to be well-thought out before approval.

Scaling down the projects abruptly, therefore, risks lowering the expected benefits, especially many meant to open up new areas to spur economic activity.

It is prudent to stop any new projects to complete the ongoing ones.

It is also important to prioritise pending bills for the sector, so that the contractors on site can complete the works on time to reduce cost overruns and paying for idle equipment, which is a double loss for Kenyans.

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