NAIROBI, July 16 – Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi has put errant labour and transport contractors hired by the Kenya Power and Lighting Company on notice, for delays being experienced in implementing the rural electrification programme.
Kiraitu expressed his displeasure at the delay in various projects under the scheme, noting that most had spilt over from the last two years.
“On this note I am giving a deadline of October 31 to have all these past projects complete,” the Minister announced.
Any contractor who does not meet this deadline should be blacklisted and not given any other jobs in the future, he added.
Speaking at a meeting with the contractors and the power company, the Minister also put KPLC to task over a number of hiccups being experienced in the rural power scheme.
Kiraitu said that he had been informed that some contractors had been given more jobs than they could handle.
“Some have jobs that even if they are given 10 years they will not complete,” the Minister exclaimed.
“I want fair and equal distribution of these jobs because this unfair distribution is the reason the rural electrification program is lagging behind.”
Kiraitu emphasised on the need for regional balance in project allocation as a way of making the project viable.
“You go to a place like Maralal and you find the people stringing cables are from Nairobi and yet there are local people who could do the same,” he said.
At the same time, the Minister issued a warning over increased corrupt activities between KPLC employees and some contractors where projects designs that haven’t been approved by the government are being implemented.
“Actually I am being told people are paying between Sh10,000 to Sh15,000 for this project. KPLC needs to investigate this and if it’s the case these officers should be shown the door.”
Meanwhile, Kiraitu also ordered KPLC not to over-distribute materials for the various projects as it results in wastage, which was apparent in the poles lying around carelessly all over the country, he said.
He observed that the ministry is targeting to connect at least 200,000 new customers this year and 1 million by the year 2012.
“I can only achieve this if the issues I have raised will be tackled,” the Minister appealed.