The Kenya Government has allocated a record sum of 101 billion shillings in the current financial year for the development of the roads sub-sector, President Kibaki said Friday.
President Kibaki said the allocation forms one of the largest single annual investments in roads infrastructure in the history of the country.
He said this reaffirms the government’s commitment to rebuilding and expanding the road network to make it easier for Kenyans to do business and contribute to the growth of the economy.
“For this reason, and despite severe constraints on Exchequer resources, we have maintained high level of funding to the sector. For instance, during Fiscal Year 2010/2011, the allocation towards this sub sector was 90 billion shillings,” President Kibaki said at Maai-Mahiu when he officially opened the Maai-Mahiu-Narok road.
He noted that investments for the improvement of the road network were opening up rural areas for more production.
“The improvement of these roads, as well as many others across our country which are either complete or on-going, will go a long way in ensuring that Kenyans enjoy safe and comfortable travel.”
The government’s focus on improvement of the road network is based on the appreciation that roads are the primary mode of transportation in the country.
“Statistics indicate that over 95 percent of the freight transport and over eighty percent of passenger transport takes place on our roads. Investing in improvement of our roads will therefore yield immense gains and benefits to the majority of our people, » he said.
President Kibaki said the Maai-Mahiu-Narok road forms an important corridor that extends to Bomet and on to Kisii town thus providing residents in the vast region with a more direct route to the city of Nairobi and beyond.
The improved road is also expected to enhance trade, particularly agricultural and livestock produce apart from being the main link to the world famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve.
“Its rehabilitation will enable both local and foreign visitors to the Game Reserve to benefit from reduced travel times and costs as well as enhanced comfort, » said the President.
He affirmed government’s commitment to developing a modern road transport infrastructure that enables Kenyans to travel safely, comfortably and affordably.
The President said: “This is the reason why we are investing a substantial amount of the available resources to improve and upgrade key roads that serve to strengthen linkages both internally and externally with our neighbours.”
Among the key roads the government is developing included the Northern Corridor that boosts trade links with Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Others included Isiolo-Moyale road meant to open up trade links with Ethiopia, Athi River-Namanga road that forms a critical link with Tanzania as well as the recently initiated design of the Leseru-Kitale-Lokichogio-Nandapal road to enhance Kenya’s links with South Sudan.