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Authority to oversee constructions mooted

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 2 – The Government has approved the formation of the National Construction Authority to govern the booming infrastructure development sector.

President Mwai Kibaki said on Tuesday that the new authority would be charged with developing strict codes of regulations to ensure high standards are upheld in the construction industry.

The authority will also streamline operations of various infrastructure-aligned ministries with the view of maximising efficiency in development.

“Once the authority is in place it will be expected to regulate and aid the development of the construction industry to serve the needs of our growing economy,” President Kibaki said at the opening of the Transformative and Effective Infrastructure Projects Conference in Nairobi.

Infrastructure development is credited as one of the main pillars of transforming Kenya into a middle-income economy as envisioned in Vision 2030.

Infrastructure development has been receiving renewed support from both government and development partners such as the World Bank, African Development Bank and the European Union, which have pumped in billions of shillings towards public works in the country.

Of concern to the president has been the efficiency in implementation of development projects, which he said was a costly affair that must be avoided in future.

“Delays to projects funded by government amounts to denial of services to the people. I therefore expect our professionals to ensure that the projects are completed within the stipulated timeframes and budgets,” he said during the conference. 

Most of the money in infrastructure development over the years has been channeled towards roads construction with up to Sh80 billion being allocated to the ministry of roads.

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Energy development is also a critical area in the development of the economy with Sh31 billion being used in the sector.

President Kibaki also directed relevant government agencies to institutionalise routine and periodic maintenance of all the county’s infrastructure facilities to ensure they yield maximum returns.

Also speaking during the conference, Roads Minister Franklin Bett said in 2009, infrastructure development had grown by 14 percent despite a dip in the global economy, adding it could only grow further.

“One can expect that future investment in infrastructure will be enormous,” Mr Bett said.

Among the major projects being undertaken, include construction of a port in Lamu, a standard gauge railway line connecting the country to the larger East African region and the Thika super highway.

President Kibaki hoped that the new authority would facilitate more private sector involvement in the projects rather than leaving all to foreigners.

Ministry of Roads Permanent Secretary Michael Kamau however challenged local contractors to be more innovative to take advantage of emerging projects.

“There has been passive participation by our local contractors, and I urge them to be adapting to the change in technology,” Mr Kamau said.

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