Infrastructure projects help to shore up jobs

Nairobi Expressway pillars

Pillars for the Nairobi Expressway project are pictured near Nextgen Mall during Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia tour on December 11, 2020.  

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

Public spending on infrastructure projects helped shore up jobs adversely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in the past nine months.

According to a year-end review by the National Construction Authority (NCA), the 27 kilometre Nairobi expressway sustained 3,000 jobs.

A further Sh1.4 billion injected into upgrading and expansion of fresh produce market across Nairobi opened up new job opportunities for builders and material suppliers.

NCA Executive Director Maurice Aketch said since the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) undertook 32 road projects with Kenya Railways upgrading the Nairobi commuter facility thereby creating hundreds of jobs for skilled and unskilled artisans.

“The expressway employs about 3,000 workers during its construction and will employ about 500 workers during operation. We formulated health operational procedures at construction sites thereby saving jobs and securing investments during this era of Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

The construction sector suffered a total lockdown last March when the first case of Covid-19 was reported in Kenya with many contractors resuming operations in July after NCA and other stakeholders formulated construction guidelines.

Mr Aketch said the hardest hit were commercial and residential developments that heavily relied on private and credit funding.

According to the Kenyan National Bureau of Statistics’ July economic indicator, the value of projects approved for implementation in Nairobi slid to Sh61 billion last May,  a Sh154 billion slump compared to April’s Sh215 billion 2019’s May and was a far cry from 2019’s reported investments of Sh250.8 billion.

The year 2020 started off at Sh431 billion in January rising to Sh563.3 billion in February and Sh313 billion in March. April reported a Sh98 billion drop to stand at Sh215 billion.

The NCA boss said a customer-centred online portal was also activated , enabling contractors and construction workers to renew there licences.

“Accreditation of construction workers and construction site supervisors can be done online from the portal. That has ensured regulatory compliance enabling projects to continue to fruition,’ he said.

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