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Govt must work with local contractors, says Ngilu

KINANGOP, Kenya, Apr 26 – Water Minister Charity Ngilu on Tuesday asserted that the government should more contracts to local professionals to build their capacities and drive the country\’s economy.

Mrs Ngilu argued that Kenya needed to pay more attention to locally produced goods and services to become self reliant and achieve Vision 2030.

She added that the country should also focus on promoting the exchange of ideas between local and foreign contractors rather than purely seeking overseas services.  

"We must train our own contractors and ensure we build their confidence so that we can help our own people do the work.  It is sad that we have been independent for the last 50 years but we still continue using people outside the country," she argued.

"If we get monetary support from our development partners, then the engineers should be local," she stressed.

She further cautioned Kenyans against ethnicising developmental activities and agenda saying it was retrogressive. Mrs Ngilu argued that negative tribalism and politics hampered development as they risked locking out talent.

"This (Sasumua dam) was not done by Kenyans but it actually broke down; although it was constructed a long time ago. I believe that if it was built by a Kenyan and the same thing happened, it would have been a \’who\’ story," she said. 

Ms Ngilu was speaking after commissioning the Sasumua dam which broke down in 2003 following heavy rains that saw its storage capacity reduced to 5 million cubic meters.

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She pointed out that the dam\’s repair would help improve the supply of water to estates along Jogoo, Juja and Outering roads.

"To date the volume impounded is 12 million cubic meters and the is 77 percent full.  The project will enable the release of water from the Gigiri system which was earlier being pumped to Kabete so as to increase supply to Eastlands," she said.

When in full capacity, the Sasumua dam can hold close to 16 million cubic meters increasing the supply to Nairobi residents by close to 50 percent.

Mrs Ngilu further said that various damming projects being done by her ministry and other development partners were on schedule and that no money had been misappropriated.

"There is Kiserian which will be completed over a period of approximately three years and we have Machakos which was completed over a period of one year so we are using money properly. It is just that water has a lot of politics which is what has been playing," she said.

Others present were Nairobi Mayor George Aladwa, Head of Sub Saharan African Department (French Development Agency) Jean-Marc Gravellini, Athi Water Services Board Chairman Rueben Ndolo, area MP David Ngugi among others.

Mr Aladwa asked the Athi Water Services board to contain water wastage and theft in the city arguing that corrupt cartels were cashing in on the trade.

"I would also like to ask Nairobi residents to exercise responsibility when using their water," he said.

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