KENYA – The long awaited completion of the Bachuma Livestock Export Processing Zone (LEPZ) in the coastal region of Kenya seems to be a deeming reality following the termination of the Ksh. 362m (US$3.4m) contract by the government on account of failure of the contractor to meet the set deadline.

Bachuma’s LEPZ, is one of Jubilee Government flagship projects expected to bolster Kenya’s strategic position as a player in global livestock market that has gobbled millions of shillings but remains incomplete to date.

The Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives Peter Munya said the contractor had already been issued with a default notice over the project, reports Kenyan News Agency.

According to the work documents, the project was designed in two phases. The first phase was contracted for Sh 114 million (US$1.07m) and started on March 2015.

It was expected to be completed on May 2019 but remains 95 per cent complete. Already, the contractor has pocketed Sh 98.4 million (US$0.927m) for works done.

The second phase was contracted at Sh 257.1 million (US$2.42m). The project started on April 2016 and was expected to end in November 2019.

Already, the contractor has been paid Sh 131.6 million (US$1.24m) with project being classified as 50 per cent complete.

A visibly upset Munya said the contractor had not done any single work since last year in June despite funds being released for the project, “There is no excuse at all on what this project should be as it is,” he said.

On his defence the contractor claimed that part of the reason for project delays was the Covid-19 pandemic which started in March this year but the bone of contention was of work not done from as far way back as June 2019.

The reports have further indicated that severe action will be taken against government officials who supervised the project stating they were also to blame for not putting pressure on the contractor.

“We had our own officer who was to make sure the project was completed on time. Action will also be taken against such people,” CS Munya said.

“We have authorized the contractor and his team to stop working because there is no need to pretend there is anything going on here,” he added.

Currently, the project works are on 200-acres where the most critical infrastructure will be installed. They include quarantines zones, screening sections, loading bays, incinerators, laboratories and staff houses.

Initially, the 200-acre will hold between 7,000 and 9,000 herds of cattle. When complete, the 15,000-acres will hold 100,000 herds of cattle for export.

Bachuma LEPZ will process all livestock intended for export market. The project’s proximity to the port of Mombasa, Nairobi-Mombasa Highway and the SGR is also a big boost for ease of movement for the animals.

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