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Kenya Power ‘giving jobs to foreigners’

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Kenyan contractors are accusing Kenya Power of denying them tenders in the Last Mile Connectivity projects in favour of foreign companies.

Some 2,000 registered companies that operate under the umbrella Power transmission Line Contractors Association (PTLCA) said the power utility firm has been giving local contractors terms that are impossible to meet.

The Last Mile is an ambitious Jubilee government project that aims to connect Kenyans in Rural areas, townships and schools to the National grid in a bid to spur economic growth. It  was expected to create jobs across the country.

Last year, the government launched the fourth phase, with Sh22 billion from multilateral lenders, including the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the European Union and the European Investment Bank.

It targets 280,475 customers in 32 counties across the country in the next three years.

The first phase of the project targeted 314,200 households, giving electricity to an additional 1.5 million Kenyans.

The second and third phases comprised the installation of new transformers and extension of a low-voltage network to reach an additional 500,000 customers, thereby bringing an additional 2.5 million Kenyans to the power grid.

But now Kenyan contractors say the conditions set in the tender documents for the fourth phase are so stringent no local company can qualify.

READ ALSO:   #TBT: Mama Ngina listed top investor in Kenya Power with 2.2M shares

Most of the companies being awarded the tenders are from China and India.

 “The nature of the Last Mile contracts is that small power line construction jobs (across various counties) are consolidated to make a single lot. The county’s small jobs are then lumped into several lots then awarded to single contractors per lot. This consolidation is effectively used to give the contract a huge value and thus used as an excuse to lock out local contractors under guise of lack of capacity,” said PTLCA Executive director Magu Ngaire.

“The association is of the opinion that the Last Mile scheme is a waste of money. Instead of KPLC procuring four contractors for works across the country, the same work could be given to 200 contractors,” he added.

He said that the local contractors have 20,000 employees who will be impacted by the new Kenya Power policy.

Their grievances mirror those of the Energy Sector Contractors Association (Esca), which has moved to the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB), seeking to stop tenders in the energy sector, citing discrimination.

Kenya Power officials declined to comment on the grievances by PTLCA and directed us to the response they have filed with the PPARB.

“This is an AFD-financed project, whose procurement is based on the financier’s procurement guidelines. The bidding document took into account the law, KPLC’s requirements as well as the AFD procurement guidelines,” Kenya Power states.

READ ALSO:   Expensive electricity bills to continue for 15 more years

 The power utility said that in most cases, contracts are given to specific companies picked by the financier as part of the funding agreement.

 “The process is in compliance with relevant internationally recognised practices, particularly those recommended by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development,” says Kenya Power.

PTLCA have also taken issue with the company for allowing the foreign contractors to procure their own materials, a move they say is prone to abuse.

“KPLC is effectively introducing a layer of middlemen to supply it with materials. Since these materials are part of the contract price, KPLC, and thus the public, loses as these brokers are mostly not manufacturers and have to add their mark-up. It would serve the public well if KPLC directly procured the materials. It would save Kenyans money,” said Mr Magu.

 “Under the contract, KPLC will procure for design, consultancy and labour in addition to materials from the contractors. KPLC has designers, surveyors and engineers, whose very work is being contracted out.”

The local firms say that the foreign contractors still end up subcontracting the works to the “small” local contractors.

“The profits made by these foreigners are eventually repatriated rather than being ploughed back to the local economy.”

READ ALSO:   Expensive electricity bills to continue for 15 more years

He said the foreigners pay poor rates for the subcontracts and in some instances fail to pay  altogether.

The Kenyan Constitution requires that major projects with huge economic potential involve the public in the final decision.

The contractors claim that KPLC did not go for public participation in arriving at the decision to consolidate small jobs, a decision that has  edged them out.

by nation.co.ke

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Business

Optiven Foundation Spreads hope to the vulnerable Amidst Covid Pandemic

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As we gear towards alleviate poverty levels in our society, the Optiven Foundation has reached out to support
FLOMINA children’s home. Located in Nairobi’s Soweto area, the home was the recipient of assorted food stuffs including cereals, pulses and vegetable oil.

More than 65 vulnerable children some who are orphaned , abandoned or living with HIV & AIDs, got reasons to smile courtesy of Optiven Foundation.

As the eyes on the community, the Foundation’s desire is to transform & improve the livelihood of the vulnerable families in our society. This is by offering them support that includes basic food stuff. We thank all those who support the optiven vision of economically and socially empowering the communities

How to Easily Partner & Be a Philanthropist TODAY

1. Support a deserving needy person.
Mpesa Paybill: 898 630.
Account name: Donation

2. https://web.facebook.com/pg/optivenfoundation/reviews ( like our page & drop a comment) if a beneficiary, drop us a review & rate us

For more information reach us on +254 718 776 033 or info@optivenfoundation.org | www.optivenfoundation.org

READ ALSO:   Expensive electricity bills to continue for 15 more years
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Business

What is happening in Amani Ridge the Place of Peace

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Amani Ridge the place of Peace is giving you an opportunity to build your home in a serene, scenic and natural environment.

It remains unparalleled facility with top notch value additions. Perimeter wall, razor wire,solar street lights, a welcoming landscaping work with a beautiful fountain and now a cabro- paved entry to 300 stunning homes to-be.

To become a part of this neighborhood, ensure that you or your friend book soonest from the 23
1/4 acre plots remaining.

Call us now:
0790300300 or 0723400500
Website: www.optiven.co.ke

Experience the difference

READ ALSO:   #TBT: Mama Ngina listed top investor in Kenya Power with 2.2M shares
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Business

Safe rides: Introducing the all-female taxi

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Say you are a woman, it is 11pm and you need a taxi ride urgently. You may have heard horrendous stories of female passengers in a male driven taxi that makes you recoil and opt to cancel the ride, but you need it, and you are alone.

Getting in the taxi, worry knocks and you start having wild ideas of your escape plan, just in case. You check the child lock and confirm that your phone is charged, before sending a screenshot of your taxi details to a friend – if anything happens, they will have a clue of where to start.

Will it be comforting to say that you are not alone?

This comfort factor for women is in a female chauffeured taxi called An Nisa, a taxi company whose vehicles only carry women and children, limited to pre-teen male.

Fellow women

“I wanted a taxi service that would make women feel comfortable throughout their journey. Women are more maternal and women feel more comfortable being driven by fellow women,” says  Khawlah Habib, founder of An Nisa.

An Nisa, which means women in the Arabic language, is a solution to women and mothers who may have had insecurities when they use other taxi services.

READ ALSO:   Expensive electricity bills to continue for 15 more years

Whilst the analogy of prevention being better than cure is mostly used in medicine, Ms Habib says it perfectly fits her idea of having a female passenger being driven by a woman.

“I did a lot of research and talked to a number of women who narrated their unpleasant experiences, which made me see the need of coming up with a female-only taxi,” says Ms Habib.

When it was launched in 2018, there were more than 1,000 downloads and requests to use their service within a week. Unfortunately, at the time this article was written, the app was under maintenance so all bookings are still made on call.

Affirmative nod

“Men also call me to let me know that the ladies in their lives, or children, would wish to use An Nisa as a mode of transport, and that tells you that the worry is felt by both genders,” says Ms Habib.

An Nisa today, has more than 50 female drivers that work mainly in Nairobi and Mombasa.

It is even a feel-good option for female taxi drivers. Beatrice Wambui, a 30-year-oldwho has been a taxi driver for ten years now, has an affirmative nod for the An Nisa experience.

Ms Wambui juggles between all the online taxi service providers available in Nairobi. But says: “Having an An Nisa client feels safe, because I already know it is a fellow woman coming on board.”

READ ALSO:   #TBT: Mama Ngina listed top investor in Kenya Power with 2.2M shares

Although she may not be affected much when she uses the other online taxi services, the discrimination starts from the passenger.

“One time I got a client request for my ride, when I accepted the request and they found out that it was a woman behind the wheel, they cancelled, and I felt so bad,” Ms Wambui says.

Late night ride

With An Nisa, she says, the expectation and reality are usually in synchrony. So, once a client calls in, they know that it is a woman who will drive them, so they do not have any reservations because that is what they sign up for.

Ms Habib does not just employ any woman to be her driver.

“I prefer drivers who have driven for a while, say 10 years or more, not less and should comply with all NTSA (National Transport and Safety Authority) requirements.”

And for clients who may want a late night ride, or a very early ride; say to the airport, they make advanced booking so that safety precautions including the driver’s, are considered.

Curfew

“I had to apply for a curfew pass that allows me to pick and drop off clients who travel in the wee hours of the night. With the pandemic, I insist that the client wears a face mask and sits on the back seat,” adds Ms Wambui.

READ ALSO:   Expensive electricity bills to continue for 15 more years

For safety, An Nisa has partnered with Lady Askari, a company that offers protection services to women. The services, just like An Nisa, are provided by female trained security guards.

by nation.africa

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