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Economy

Contractors face better pay for northern Kenya roads

Earth movers work on a road leading to Mandera Town. PHOTO | FILE
Earth movers work on a road leading to Mandera Town. PHOTO | FILE 

Investors seeking to build roads in northern Kenya will be offered a premium as the State struggles to attract contractors for projects in the volatile zone.

Only one investor submitted a bid for construction of a 67km stretch in Mandera under the 10,000km roads plan, with most staying away on insecurity fears.

A total of 44.9km of road network in Lodwar Town received no bid under the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura).  

Transport secretary Michael Kamau on Monday said the northern bit of the road project could be built under a force account should the lone investor fail to satisfy the State in the final evaluation.

A force account is where a contractor builds a road without an agreement on its cost on the understanding that the owner of the project will meet the expenses and add a return as the construction proceeds.

Mr Kamau said the government is keen on the Modogashe-Mandera Road, hence the force account option.

“We are evaluating the bid now. If it’s competitive, we’ll proceed with it. If it’s not competitive, we’ll drop it and look at other means of doing the road,” he said.

“We can still do it by force account; bringing the military or NYS (National Youth Service) or other people who are armed if that is a conflict area.”

Insecurity in the area perpetrated by Al Shabaab militants from Somalia saw 64 people killed in the space of two weeks late last year, prompting non-residents to leave the area fearing for their lives.

Twenty eight people were killed in a Nairobi-bound bus on November 22 while 36 were killed in a quarry on December 2.

The insecurity is likely to make workers and contractors demand a premium for working in a dangerous region.

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