Wednesday, October 24, 2001


Japan suspends Sh6 billion project


Japan has stopped funding for a Sh6 billion water project in Kisumu.

It pulled out because the municipal council failed to meet donor conditions, a workshop heard yesterday.

A consultant with the Ministry of Water Development, Mr Simon Thuo, said Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) will not rescind the decision even if the council meets all the conditions now.

Jica has moved to other "receptive councils" following the failure by the Kisumu municipality to privatise the water and sewerage department within the time frame allowed.

Mr Thuo said Jica would fund rehabilitation of water and sewerage systems in Meru, Koibatek, Samburu and Laikipia County Council.

The Nyanza Provincial Commissioner, Mr John Nandasaba, said on Kenyatta Day that Jica was withholding Sh287 million meant for the project because the council had failed to meet some conditions for releasing the funds.

The revelation shocked Kisumu Mayor Shakeel Ahmed Shabir, who argued that the council should not be penalised for mistakes committed by the previous administration.

He said Kisumu Municipal Council was committed to the privatisation of the water and sewerage department, adding that the Jica programme could still be revived.

"We have to build our capacity and involve relevant government ministries such water, environment and local authority. We have done our best. We are sorry for what happened in the past," Mr Shabir told the workshop on the privatisation of Kisumu water and sewerage systems.

He disclosed that the council had registered an organisation known as Kisumu Municipal Water and Sewerage Company and would meet other donor conditions.

However, he criticised one of the conditionalities calling for an international tendering system at a cost of Sh250 million.

He also took issue with the World Bank for refusing to fund the rehabilitation of Kisat sewerage treatment plant in the town.

He said the plant was debilitated and must be repaired urgently to stop the discharge of raw sewage into Lake Victoria.