End of the road beckons for ‘cowboy’ contractors

Ongoing expansion works on Outer Ring Road in Doonholm, Nairobi. Local contractors have missed out on such lucrative contracts because of delayed or substandard works. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Road contractors who deliver shoddy works or delay completion of projects might in future find it difficult to get Government jobs.

This is after one of the State agencies said it would come up with a policy that would enable it to blacklist non-performing contractors, suppliers and consultants.

Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) said it had developed a draft policy on listing non-performing firms contracted to work on different projects, but fail to deliver.

This would mean that companies that are unable to deliver projects within time and budget, construct substandard roads or fail to manage flow of traffic during construction might find it difficult to get Government contracts in future.

“This is to bring to the attention of all stakeholders and members of the public that KeNHA has prepared draft policy on the listing of non-performing contractors, suppliers and consultants for possible debarment by the relevant bodies,” said the authority in a public notice on Thursday.

Foreign firms

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KeNHA, which is charged with construction and maintenance of highways in the country, as well as other road authorities that are in charge of rural and urban roads have been grappling with issues such as contractors’ failure to meet deadlines and delivering works that do not meet set standards.

The have also been numerous instances where contractors have failed to manage human and vehicular traffic, resulting in accidents and major traffic jams.

Most of those affected have been local contractors, with the road authorities now preferring to award foreign firms major contracts, with the local companies having to settle for smaller roads, but even then, some of them still struggle to complete on time.

There have been instances in the recent past where the Transport Ministry has had to terminate contracts of road contractors for taking longer than stipulated to finish projects. Cabinet Secretary James Macharia in February cancelled the contract for Nyoro Construction that had been hired to build Gitugi-Mioro Road in Murang’a County.

The firm had only done 40 per cent of the road project since 2011.

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