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Board wants a quarter of urban roads funds allocated to Nairobi

It is estimated that Nairobi has 80 per cent of Kenyan motor traffic. FILE PHOTO | NMG
It is estimated that Nairobi has 80 per cent of Kenyan motor traffic. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Kenya Roads Board is proposing that 25 per cent of funds allocated to the urban roads agency go to Nairobi.

The roads board that co-ordinates development, upgrade and maintenance of roads has petitioned Parliament through its contribution to a bill that it be mandatory for the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) to comply with the requirement.

Roads funds are disbursed to KRB that releases them to the Ministry of Transport for onward allocation to the county governments and road agencies including Kura, the Kenya Rural Road Authority (Kerra) and Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha).

KRB director general Jacob Ruwa told Parliament that dedicating 25 per cent of Kura’s allocation to Nairobi will ensure that the capital’s road networks receive the attention they deserve.

“To ensure that the roads in the city receive funding that can support the road network, it is proposed that two per cent of the eight per cent allocated to Kura go to developing and maintaining roads in Nairobi,” he told the National Assembly Committee on Transport, Public Works and Housing.

It is estimated that 80 per cent of motor traffic in the country is in Nairobi, a county said to house about 40 per cent of the total Kenyan population.

This state of affairs combined with poor state of a number of roads have led to traffic snarl-ups, congestion and a headache to most road users, leading to huge losses of work hours.

“If you look at the condition of the roads in Nairobi over the past two to three years it has been deteriorating continuously,” Mr Ruwa said during KRB’s submission on the Kenya Roads Bill 2017 that was tabled in Parliament in December last year.

The board is also seeking legal backing in withholding funds to road agencies or county governments that fail to comply with the public roads standards.

Compliance includes submission of work programmes six months before commencement of work and periodic reports to the KRB by the road agencies and county governments.

“For effectiveness of the Public Roads Standards Board, it is proposed to provide that the KRB withhold funds to any road agency or county governments that fail to comply,” he said.

While the board currently withholds the funds to recipients that do not comply with public roads standards, this is not backed by law, which creates room for dispute.

The Kenya Roads Bill 2017 sponsored by majority leader Aden Duale seeks to give effect to the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution in relation to the roads sub sector.

“It is proposed to review ... legal and institutional framework for management of the road network and roads sub sector in a more efficient and effective manner,” said Mr Duale in the memorandum of objects and reasons.

The bill proposes to amend the Kenya Roads Board Act, 1999, repeal the Kenya Roads Act 2007, and the Public Roads and Roads of Access Act, 1920.

Other proposed amendments include conducting of inventory and condition survey of all public roads and advise the Transport Cabinet secretary every five years.