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kepsa Says it's hard for Kenya Governments to Build Roads

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance on Wednesday differed with governors over the capacity of devolved units to handle road functions.The alliance said Kenya had no capacity to build roads and the demand to manage the Kenya Rural Roads and Kenya Urban Roads authorities was largely informed by a desire for more money, not quality.

Mr Matu Mwangi, who represented the alliance in a meeting with senators, said there was a potential of conflict between national and county governments if devolved units were left to manage urban roads.

The forum with transport stakeholders is meant to build consensus on the stalemate by ensuring the Kenya Road Bill clears doubts over definition and classification of county and national roads.

"If it is funding, then that is self-serving. It doesn't matter who does the roads so long as they are done in a manner to lower the cost of production," Mr Mwangi said at Parliament buildings, Nairobi.

The alliance said there could be serious challenges, including design standards, if devolved governments were allowed to oversee construction and maintenance of roads.Mr Mwangi added that officials may not want some roads to pass through their counties if they felt they would be of little or no benefit.

"Design standards for urban roads are based on specific guidelines. This can be achieved by one institution under the national government," he said.

The Kenya Rural Roads Authority (Kerra), Kenya National Highways Authority and Kenya Forest Service supported the alliance, saying road construction required specialised skills that counties lacked.

"Road construction is not only taking a grader to a site. There is a lot that must be put in place," said Kerra Chairman Richard Chepkwony.

Governors say the Bill is unconstitutional and accuse the government of using the old classification of roads to hoard funds meant for counties.
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