Bett takes over Roads docket

January 27, 2009

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 27 – Newly appointed Roads Minister Franklin Bett took office on Tuesday with a pledge to form stronger partnerships with the private sector.

The Minister said the sector is a capital-intensive one, and needs strong partnerships with the private sector to raise finances.

“It’s something that is being done around the world and I at one time visited a project in Malaysia that demonstrated success of this kind of partnerships,” Mr Bett said.

While taking over from Minister Chris Obure, who had assumed the office in an acting capacity after the death of the previous occupant Kipkalya Kones, Mr Bett committed that he would see through pledges made by his predecessor to ensure continuity in the ministry.

“I do not want you to feel like things keep on changing any time a new person takes over,” he intimated.

During the handover, Public Works Minister Obure briefed his successor on the Ministry’s achievements in the last six months and plus the challenges.

He said the ministry had come up with a strategic plan, a document on the restructuring of the mechanical and engineering departments, and a Cabinet memorandum on the establishment of a National Construction Authority.

Among the mandates of the Authority are the registration and recognition of indigenous contractors as a way of getting rid of the cowboy contractors that have been a major problem to the ministry.

Mr Obure noted that the privatisation of weigh bridges had posed a big challenge for the ministry in the past six months.

“The issue of a non-performing railway system has resulted to nearly 93 percent of goods being transported by road, worsening the situation,” he stated.

Mr Bett is making his debut as a minister but previously worked as a State House comptroller under the Moi regime.

He is the Member of Parliament for Buret.

The Roads ministry portfolio fell vacant following the death of Mr Kones in a plane crash last June.

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