In a move that help local contractors compete better with foreign contractors, Kenya Commercial Bank has offered to finance local contractors who are willing to build roads government’s US$444.4m annuity scheme. This is according to Samuel Makome, the managing director of KCB Kenya division.
The scheme is a government’s strategy to see that 10, 000km of roads are paved to bitumen standards in the next five years. The Kenya Commercial Bank has said it will support members of Masters Builders Sacco, a savings scheme already working with KCB in helping local contractors win government tenders.
“We will finance contractors under the scheme. KCB is interested in making the annuity mechanism work,” said Makome.
Many contractors missed out from prequalification of the 3, 000km of roads to be constructed in the initial phase and which was launched recently, because they did not meet the financial criteria. Contractors were required to have an annual turnover requirement of US$4.4 million for prequalification in the scheme.
Only 3 local firms, out of the 47 contractors were prequalified in the process. Local contractors have expressed concerns that the criteria of prequalification favored foreign firms and have gone ahead to ask the secretary of the Public Private Partnership to Committee Mr. Stanley Kamau for the previewing of the criteria, but unsuccessfully.
The Kenya Federation of Master Builders Organizing Secretary Mr. Thiaka Muchai has said that Mr. Kamau said the government would not review the criteria. He said that local contractors were banking on the regulations requiring foreign contractors that were successful to offer 30% of work to local contractors.
Through the annuity scheme, the government requires local contractors to source their own funds to acquire lands, build roads and maintain the roads for a minimum of six years. These contractors will then be paid by the government, banks and financiers after a supervising engineer from the government ascertains successful completion of the said sections.
The Kenya Federation of Master Builders has said they were in talks with National Housing Corporation and National Construction Authority to support training of local contractors. He said they also were in partnership with the biggest contractor federation of Germany. The 30, 000km roads construction project was launched this August and slated to start off this December.