Starting from when Kenya gained independence, Meru County has not been getting her fair share of development. It has a paltry 350 kilometers of tarmacked in spite of its largeness covering 6,936km2. Thus, out of the 4,000-kilometer road network in Meru, only 350 kilometers are tarmacked.
But, this is definitely going take a new turn soon once a pilot project funded by the county government comes out successfully. This pilot project seeks to tarmac 300 kilometers of road using the Probase Technology which is cheap and very much durable. Thus, the county seeks to tarmac 300 kilometers using the technology to cover the nine sub-counties. And at the moment, the building of roads using the cheap technology has commenced in Meru.
And in case you are wondering what this is, Probase technology was invented in Malaysia and has been in existence for the last 13 years which implies that it invented in 1998. And more amazingly, Kenya will be the 14th country to benefit from this technology among other countries including Uganda. Additionally, Kenya is the first country in East and Central Africa after South Africa welcomed the technology in the last few years.
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As might be expected, using other technologies to construct roads cost overwhelming amounts of money raging from Sh. 30 million to Sh. 80 million per kilometer, while Probase uses in the rages of Sh. 15 million to Sh. 22 million but depends on the area being tarmacked and with sufficient maintenance the roads is sure to last for 20 years to say the least. Therefore, a kilometer of road costs Sh70 million to tarmac at the recent market rates, but constructing roads using Probase Standard technology slashes the cost to Sh23 million.
Peter Munya visited Malaysia in 2013 just a few months after being elected Governor, where he signed a Sh. 880 million loan with the Exim Bank of Malaysia to fund mordenizing of 50 kilometers of road within the county. As a result of that, the Malaysian Government will give the county a Sh880 million loan to fund the construction. And also, the Malaysian company will maintain the big project financed by the Meru County Government for five years without extra charges or costs to be incurred .
The first stage of this work will involve Probase International that is contracted from Malaysia modernize five kilometers of road in each of the nine constituencies within the county to bitumen standard. He did not only sin the contract but also signed a memorandum of understanding that will cover the funding to tarmac the remaining 250 kilometers. Just recently, a 10 kilometer pilot project is made ready and won President Uhuru Kenyatta’s rained praises when he went to the Meru County on Saturday. He toured the Kianjai-Miathene-Mikinduri road that is being tarmacked using the technology.
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In the words of Munya “Infrastructure is critical for development of the county as it acts as an economic enabler.” He went further to say that the development of an extensive road system is at the heart of his development agenda.
“My government is banking on major constructions, especially roads for employment to hundreds of jobless youth,” Mr Munya said.
The county seeks to fund the building of the Mikinduri-Kianjai road via Miathene at a cost of Sh250 million which has already been included in this year’s budgetary estimates of the county government.
More importantly, the loan from Exim Bank will attract an interest of 3 per cent every year with a repayment period of ten years.
Presently, a 10 kilometer pilot project is complete and has won President Uhuru Kenyatta’s praises when toured the Meru County on Saturday.