Laikipia County has commenced the utilisation of Sh1.16 billion infrastructure bond after the long-awaited approval by the national cabinet, County Executive Committee Member (CECM) in charge of Finance and economic planning Boni Murungi has said.
Speaking to the media in Nanyuki during the official signing of Karuga smart town contract on Tuesday, the CEC said the bond is expected to finance several projects in the county aimed at spurring economic growth.
“About 16 projects are supported by the infrastructure bond and the work has started. We have started with Karuga in other towns after the procurement completion,’ said Murungi.
County Chief Officer in charge of Infrastructure Duncan Mwangi said Karuga in Laikipia West Sub county will be the first smart town to benefit with about Sh96 million from the infrastructure bond after competitive procurement by the local contractors.
“Under the infrastructure bond we are establishing 10 smart towns and Karuga is the first that we have been able to procure and award it,” the Chief Officer said, adding they will construct 1.2 kilometres of road of bitumen standard around Karuga smart town.
Mwangi said that the Karuga smart town project is expected to be completed within eight months.
He urged the residents to be cooperative during the implementation of the project in a bid to improve security in the area and at the same time create job opportunities.
The contractor is also expected to install street lighting, construction of 4.4 kilometres footpaths and drainage systems.
Warugita general contractors who got awarded the construction of Karuga smart town said he would complete the project on the stipulated time.
Other towns expected to benefit from the infrastructure bond are Doldol, Rumuruti, Ol Jabet Naibor, Wiyumiririe, Kinamba, Kalalu, Mugwarak and Pesi.
Meanwhile, the bond got the cabinet nod after it passed several other stages like Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council (IBEC), National Assembly and county assembly among others.
Laikipia will be the first county since the inception of the devolved unit to float the infrastructure bond in the stock market.
The bond is expected to be repaid within seven years’ time.
By Muturi Mwangi