Storm in Kenya over multi-billion tender awarded to Chinese firm

Eyebrows have been raised after yet another Chinese firm has been awarded with a Sh447.5 billion tender.

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The list of Chinese firms landing multi-billion tenders in the country to conduct large infrastructure projects seems to be on a gradual rise.

The domination of the Chinese firms in such projects has in the past received criticism from local investors who have increasingly cited being locked out of the mega infrastructural deals by the government.

And it seems as though East Asian country’s relationship with Kenya is on a roll as yet another Chinese firm has landed a multi-billion tender to conduct feasibility studies to expand the SGR to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and the city centre via Syokimau.

China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) has been tasked with conducting studies which will set the stage for a fresh financing round of the rail airport link; a project believed to cost a whooping Sh447.5 billion.

“The line will provide service for people leaving Syokimau train terminus into the city and people coming from the city going to JKIA or Syokimau train terminus,” said Kenya Railways managing Director Atanas Maina.

The firm becomes the latest in a growing list of Chinese firms to be involved in the SGR project, a move which is set to raise criticism over the transparency of the process.

However, Kenyan officials said that there was no public bidding for the Mombasa to Nairobi SGR line, which they said was a condition of Chinese lenders to help fund construction.

China’s biggest freight wagon manufacturer, CRRC Qiqihar, has also been contracted to service locomotives and wagons while another Chinese firm — China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) — will operate the new rail for five year.

The plan to develop the city, JKIA link was brought up in 2011 but later abandoned due to lack of adequate funds.

The plan is considered important to cut on the amount of time spent in traffic.

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