An investigation of the alternatives of financing the maintenance of the public road network in Kenya
Nyegenye, Henry Taabu N
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The transport sector is a catalyst of rapid economic growth, development and reconstruction. The road network is a significant component of this vital transport sector since roads link many sectors in the economy and the population. An inadequate and poor road network has a direct impact of increasing production cost (IEA, 2008). High production cost hinders economic turnaround and the implementation of the country's long-term development agenda. According to KRB (2009), 10% of the Kenyan roads w ere in good condition, 34% in fair condition and 56% in poor condition as at 2008. The bulk of the Kenya’s road network is in bad condition because there is insufficient funding for rehabilitation and maintenance activities. This is since roads compete for funds with other more visible and socially popular sectors like health, education, security, water, among others. There is a huge gap of finances for road maintenance and rehabilitation. According to IEA (2008). Kenya is at deficit of over KES 71.1 billion. This paper evaluates the challenges faced in financing road maintenance and development in Kenya. It includes a review of the reforms that have taken place in the roads sub-sector over the years. The paper used desk review of available literature on the topic and the survey approach where data was collected from players in sub-sector. The data collected was analyzed using Likert scoring and Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and findings obtained. The study recommends a number of key macroeconomic policy factors in evaluating financing of road maintenance funds. First, on the need to create a maintenance plan and ensure road maintenance plans are implemented as per schedule. Secondly, the need for further policy decisions to shield road maintenance fund from political interference and diversion of road funds to other non-road related uses. The need for additional financing is vital and cannot be overemphasized. The study recommends a number of viable sources of road maintenance financing in Kenya. This include, VAT on vehicles parts sale and ensuring stricter penalties for overloading. Also, the need to develop a lean road maintenance fund management to reduce administrative cost is vital. This will enable more funds to be availed to road agencies for road works implementation. Finally, the study recommends the contribution of road users to planning and management of road funds to be included in road maintenance decisions.
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