BY OUR TANA RIVER CORRESPONDENT
The government wants to construct water pans to the tune of Sh472 million through the Equalisation Fund to resolve perennial conflicts between pastoralists and farmers in Tana River County.
However, it was learnt from the County Development Implementation and Coordination Committee meeting that another Sh211 million is yet to be paid to contractors who are still constructing a number of water pans that are at different stages of completion (above 95 per cent).
Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) John Nderitu Miriam and Department of Irrigation Eng. Raphael Mutiso from Nairobi listed a total of 16 water pan projects in Garsen, Bura and Galole constituencies some of which have been completed while others ongoing.
“Our main aim is to ease pressure on agricultural land so that pastoralists do not move into agricultural land and interfere with crops, a factor that has led to clashes in the past,” Mr. Mutiso says.
He adds the national government, through his department, is spending Sh104.9 million to construct Dide Ade and Tank E water pans in Garsen Subcounty out of which it had already paid about Sh45 million.
In the Galole constituency, the department will be spending Sh138 million to implement Bula Youth, Haroresa, Maderte and Kalkacha water pans of which Sh85 million has already been paid to contractors.
The government, in Bura constituency, will be spending Sh147 million to construct Adhama, Bangale, Gurujo and Taqe water pans with Sh77 million already paid for the works.
According to Mr. Miriam six more projects have already been constructed to the tune of Sh293 million across the county although his colleague (Mr. Mutiso) said he needed time to verify the existence of Tawfiq and Waldena water pans as they had not been captured in his department’s database.
“Before we declare these two water pans as ghost projects, I will need some time to verify with our database,” Mr Mutiso told the committee that was chaired by County Commissioner Oning’oi ole Sosio in his board room.
The committee expressed concern over delay in the implementation of projects due to late disbursement of funds and called on the Department of Irrigation and the National Treasury to expedite payments to contractors to avoid unnecessary delays.
Mr. Sosio asked officials from Ministry Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Semi-Autonomous Government Sagas reporting projects to the committee to be truthful as the PDU had most of the data in its possession.