Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia wants the Chinese firm that built the multi-billion shilling Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) to be awarded a new contract worth Ksh2.5 billion.
The CS wants the firm to be given the contract to refurbish the Nairobi commuter railway network in what is referred to as a single-sourced deal.
Macharia seeks to have the Cabinet to approve the hiring of China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) without subjecting it to competitive bidding.
If the contract is approved, the firm will be tasked to upgrade the railway stations as well as ballasting of the rail network in the first phase of the track rehabilitation.
Writing to the Cabinet, Macharia noted: ““The purpose of this Cabinet memorandum is to seek concurrence of the Cabinet to engage China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) to undertake infrastructure works since we do not have local firms with the required capacity to undertake the works whereas CRBC have the adequate technical capacity, pre-requisite railway experience and ability to mobilise immediately.”
However, according to the Kenya Railways management, they would have preferred an open tendering for the upgrade contract, arguing that the rehabilitation of the commuter railway stations could have been done by local companies.
Business Daily noted that some Kenya Railways officials had also pushed for an open tender for a local firm to do at least part of the works like ballasting, which is budgeted at Ksh200 million.
Sources familiar with the matter divulged that the Chinese firm is likely to get the entire deal.
The cabinet is however yet to approve on who will be awarded the contract.