The government has suspended the construction of the Mombasa- Nairobi expressway for the next two years after Kenya hit its debt ceiling. The project, which was contracted to Bechtel would have been Kenya’s largest single contract road project.
According to a local media house , the country put on hold the project to allow the country’s debt levels to drop. The Cabinet Secretary for Transport said the ministry will prioritize other projects like the Nairobi-Nakuru-Kapbsabet and the JKIA-Westlands Expressway.
The announcement come after the US Ambassador expressed his concerns about Kenya’s debt levels and therefore suspended the project. According to the government representative, the United States government supports the project. However, ethics and transparency demand that Kenya addresses its ballooning debt problem.
“Bechtel and the US government have remained fully engaged with Kenya and we continue to follow up on President Trump’s and President Kenyatta’s commitment to make the project a reality. But Kenya’s debt is spiralling out of control. We don’t want to pile up more debt on Kenyans. We want to do business in a transparent and ethical way and the onus is on Kenya to put its debts in order.” said Ambassador Kyle Carter in an interview with Nation.
Holding off the project will allow the Govt to explore other options like Public-Private Partnerships in completing the project. Transport minister Macharia believes that postponing the project will allow Kenya to gauge the success of other PPPs, before constructing the highway.