Legislators quiz renovation of airstrips

Isiolo Airstrip
Isiolo International Airport. PHOTO/COURTESY

By Edna Mwende
Legislators have quizzed the government’s decision to pump millions of shillings into the renovation of eight local airstrips without conducting audits to guarantee value for money.

According to a news report by the Business Daily, Parliament’s Transport Committee, in a meeting with the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) on Thursday, insisted that these airports barely receive any traffic and pumping funds into the projects without conducting audits is not feasible.

“What is the significance of these airstrips to the counties? The people of Isiolo are not employed there even as casuals,” Isiolo County Woman Representative Rehema Jaldesa is quoted as saying by the Business Daily on the state of the county’s airstrip.

Sotik MP Dominic Koskei shared the same sentiments as Ms. Jaldesa. He is quoted in the Business Daily news report as having said:

 “It is sad that we are pumping billions into an airstrip that has no flights.”

The country’s airstrip renovation project is estimated to cost taxpayers Ksh. 1.2 billion and without the guarantee on return-on-investment; revamping will only add onto taxpayers’ woes. Airstrips such as Kakamega, Kitale, Migori and Bomet have so far received a combined Ksh. 413 million to aid in their restoration.

The Business Daily similarly reports that KAA defended the airstrips’ renovation while similarly informing the Transport Committee that they were in no position to influence the number of flights passing through the landing strips.

“We are in dialogue with several airlines to fly there and promote the economy of Isiolo, hope we will get a breakthrough,” KAA Managing Director Jonny Andersen is quoted as saying by the Business Daily.

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