Uhuru outspent Kibaki thrice over on roads at Sh1.5 trillion

Nairobi Expressway

The Nairobi Expressway as it cuts through Westlands right above Waiyaki Way.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

President Uhuru Kenyatta has spent nearly Sh1.5 trillion to build roads since 2013, leaving behind about 11,000 kilometres of thoroughfares to his credit. A review shows that the Jubilee administration spent Sh1.44 trillion on roads between June 2013 and March 2022.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) show that the expenditure on roads rose from Sh87.6 billion in 2013 to over Sh207 billion by last year.

The highest spending was recorded between 2017 and 2022, where the government splashed over Sh951 billion, compared to the Sh490 billion spent during the first term, as the President rushed against time to leave behind a strong legacy. During the 2021/2022 financial year the government spent a total of Sh186.9 billion on roads in the first nine months.

“An analysis of programme performance shows that the road transport programme ... recorded the highest proportion of programme expenditure to its gross estimates (Sh195.2 billion) at 95.8 percent,” stated the office of the Controller of Budget (CoB) in its report on national government budget implementation between July 2021 and March 2022.

The government had last year budgeted Sh195.2 billion for road transport in the financial year 2021/22, including Sh94.7 billion for new roads and bridges, Sh36.1 billion for rehabilitation of old ones, and Sh54 billion for maintenance. By end of March, Sh101.17 billion in development spending and Sh85.76 recurrent spending had already been recorded, CoB reported.

The President’s Delivery Unit (PDU), on its website, states that over 2,000km of inter-city highways are under construction, another 500km are being procured, while 500km of urban roads are under different stages of construction or procurement.

“The rural arteries road have also seen investment to build over 3,500km in different parts of the country. Another 2,500km are at advanced stages of procurement,” PDU states. The President, during the Madaraka Day celebrations on June 1, said he had built more roads than all other administrations before him, transforming the country “one kilometre at a time.”

Available KNBS data show that between 2005 and 2013, President Kibaki spent Sh474.9 billion on roads, about a third (34.8 per cent) of President Kenyatta’s spending. During his last two years in office, President Kenyatta will have spent an amount equivalent to what President Kibaki spent on roads over eight years.

Kibaki’s highest spending on roads was in his last year of office when Sh117.6 billion was used, while during President Kenyatta’s tenure the highest expenditure was in 2018/19 and 2020/21 when Sh207 billion was spent each year.

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