CoB calls out counties over shoddy projects

Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang'o before the National Assembly's Finance and National Planning Committee on February 19, 2020. 

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

The Controller of Budget (CoB) wants counties to improve the supervision, monitoring and evaluation of projects to ensure value is obtained for the public funds spent.

This is after an audit of programmes and projects implemented in fiscal year 2018/19 and 2019/20 revealed poor workmanship.

In her budget implementation report for the first half of 2021/22, Dr Margaret Nyakang’o says some of the evaluated projects were badly implemented, abandoned, ghost or duplicated, thereby serving no meaningful purpose in the lives of the public.

And as new but poorly thought-out yet costly projects continue to be rolled out in various sectors across the 47 counties, some contractors still keep winning tenders, walking away with money for work not done or shoddily done.

“During the period, we conducted a monitoring and evaluation exercise in the counties and the sampling criterion was limited to programmes and projects implemented in FY 2018/19 and 2019/20,” Dr Nyakang’o says.

“Among the cross-cutting issues noted during the exercise were ineffective supervision of projects resulting in poor quality during the implementation phase, poor records management practices as evidenced by the failure to submit project files and delays in the development of an updated valuation roll to enhance revenue collection from ratable properties.”

The report also cites delays in paying contractors, which affected the implementation of projects within the contract period.

In Baringo, the report says, there was poor workmanship in the construction of the Kailer Dispensary in Ilchamus, while in Bomet, there are poorly fitted doors and floor tiles in the newly constructed Njerian Laboratory.

In Elgeyo Marakwet, a passion fruit factory in Kapchemutwa ward is not equipped and hence is not operational, while in Embu, a milk processing plant in Kagaari South ward had stalled at the foundation level.

In Kilifi, some projects have not achieved the intended objectives because they are either incomplete, stalled or had other challenges.

These include construction of a cassava processing plant in Kilifi North sub-county and the Malindi Water Front Public Park.

And in Kisii, the new Magenche Market in Bomachoge Borabu lacks toilets and a drainage system and has poor roofing.

In Kitui, there was a delay in completing stalled projects attributed to non-payment of outstanding contract sums, while in Laikipia, the county was cited for failing to equip some ECDE centres with qualified teachers and learning materials.

In Lamu, the newly constructed outpatient department wing at Mpeketoni Sub-County Hospital lacks equipment and medical staff, while in Machakos there is evidence of poor workmanship as some projects were poorly implemented.

These include Mukunike Dispensary in Kangundo, an ECDE classroom at Kinanie Primary School in Mavoko, and the Athi River Kwa Nzomo footbridge.

“Further, the CoB team noted the existence of stalled projects spread across the county mainly as a result of non-payment of the outstanding contract sum to contractors,” the report states.

In Marsabit, the CoB monitoring team blamed insecurity in most parts of the county that limited the coverage of the evaluation work.

Marinya Dispensary in Meru has noticeable cracks in the walls and floor, as noticeable defects were noted in Migori’s Kikongo Dispensary.

The Magoi footbridge in Nandi’s Chemase ward has a weak foundation and poses a threat to users, while Kobujoi Sub-County Hospital, which is about 50 per cent complete, exhibits signs of poor quality.

The Nyamira County Assembly office block has structural defects, the report says.

In Tana River, the report says construction of a weighbridge at Bangale and the Emergency and Causality Unit at Hola County Referral Hospital require immediate intervention by the county government to ensure they are implemented and commissioned for use.

Faulty distribution pipes at the Chiakamakama water project in Tharaka Nithi County have denied water to residents in Chiakariga area.

The report also highlights county projects that were implemented and had achieved the desired goals.

In Tharaka Nithi, the Artificial Insemination (AI) programme has significantly reduced the cost of a single insemination service from Sh7,000 to Sh400 and increased milk production from an average of four litres to eight per cow.

The oxygen plant at Chuka County Referral Hospital and the construction of a modern garage in Karingani ward that is used by about 100 mechanics and apprentices were cited as successful.

The county’s purchase of a rig that has drilled over 19 boreholes has benefited over five primary and secondary schools and residents in 14 communities.

The CoB categorized the ongoing construction of Trans Nzoia Teaching and Referral Hospital and the Kitale Modern Bus Park as “exceptionally implemented, and the quality of work was satisfactory”. 

In Makueni, it was observed that the county government has made positive progress in ensuring that members of the public participate in selecting and implementing projects.

The Kyakithuku Water Project that serves three villages in Kyakithuku ward, the installation of poultry feed formulation plant that serves farmers, and the promotion of avocado and macadamia growing in the Mukaa area were cited as some of the county’s successes.

In Nakuru, the quality of work in supplying milk pasteurisers, cooling systems and dispensers at Starlight, Lare Njoro, Kamarus, the Rongai Acacia Dairy Farmers Co-operatives, and the drilling and equipping of a borehole at Unity Primary School were said to be satisfactory.

In Elgeyo Marakwet, the upgrading of Chepkorio Health Centre to a county hospital to enhance its capacity to handle referral cases achieved the desired objective.

A new ECDE classroom at Sitoton Primary School increased enrolment by 50 per cent, the report says.