, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 27 – The government is assuring that it is in the process of fast-tracking the implementation of the projects under the Economic Stimulus Package that has had teething problems in the last two years.
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta told Parliament on Wednesday that the Treasury was coordinating with line Ministries to follow up on the implementation and ensure that they meet deadlines and complete specific projects by the end of this year.
“As of Monday when we had the last of our consultative meetings they confirmed that they had started releasing money to the projects,” said Mr Kenyatta.
“We are assuring that we will be able to complete these projects as originally envisioned.”
He admitted that identification of land, approvals from the National Environment Management Authority and over pricing bills of quantities had slowed down the ‘noble program.’
“The Ministry of Public Works has been asked to re-look at its costs and make them in line with other projects that have been done under the Constituency Development Fund,” he said.
Members however expressed concerns that the delays some which have dragged for two years may frustrate achievement of the goal of increasing access of essential services to all parts of the country.
“Many projects now risk turning into white elephants,” Limuru MP Peter Mwathi pointed out.
The Finance Minister introduced the program during the 2009 Budget aimed to provide essential services and open up the rural and remote areas.
Projects targeted included renovating schools and hospitals, building markets and fish ponds and employment of teachers, nurses and veterinary officers on constituency basis.
In the 2009/2010 financial year, Mr Kenyatta allocated Sh22 billion for the program and an additional Sh27.4 billion for the Financial Year and 2010/2011.
Kisauni MP Hassan Joho and Gitobu Imanyara of Imenti Central expressed concerns that there was no equity and fairness in the identification of areas to benefit from critical projects.
“I would want to know the criteria of identifying needy areas for the refurbishing of hospitals. For example my area of Kisauni is overpopulated but it was ignored,” complained Mr Joho.
Mr Imanyara said: “The Ministry responsible faulted in its identification of areas to build markets. My area was ignored despite us having identified land.”
There have been fears that some projects will be locked out if the financial year comes to a close before completion.
Mr Kenyatta however assured that the funds were already with the Ministries “and we have no plan as the Treasury to ask for the funds since they were allocated to specific projects.”
“We intend to produce a report and say the impact of this programme once the projects are completed,” he said.