School SEQIP contractors, suppliers protest over MOE delayed payments

contractors suppliers

A row is brewing between contractors, suppliers putting up the infrastructure in schools within West Pokot County and Pacific General Works Company which was awarded a tender for the Secondary Education Quality Improvement Project (SEQIP) funded by the World Bank through the Ministry of Education.

The contractors and suppliers who demonstrated on Wednesday at the company’s Bendera office in Kapenguria accused the company of failing to pay their pending bills.

They claimed that the company owes them more than Sh 34 million shillings after building 174 schools in the County.

The more than 20 contractors said the company was in the process of finishing the project yet they have not been paid.

They now want the project in West Pokot investigated, saying the delay in payment has exposed them to commercial losses and the risk of financial faults on their obligations already incurred.

The contractors now want the National Government through the Ministry of Education to intervene in the matter and make sure they get justice.

“We have not been paid since last year and we were subcontracted to build the schools. We have built schools including Tapach, Pleli, Kamorrow, Chemwolo, Chepkotii, Kapchilla, Simat, Nasukuta and Kachemogen.

We supplied stones, wood, cement and water. The terrain is bad, but we worked hard. Lories have failed and we have not been paid.

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SEQIP Contractors and suppliers demostrating in Kapenguria on Wednesday

The consultancy for the main contractor Dama has been coming here to supervise our work,” said Andrew Ngeiywa, a contractor.

Mr. Ngeiywa said the office for the company at Bendera in Kapenguria was closed a month ago.

“The officers are not found. Our efforts to get them have been futile,” he said.

Peter Mengich, another contractor, said they completed the work but they have not been paid.

“At first they started well and they were paying every Saturday after placing the invoice but they have gone underground. This is a very big scandal. We took loans and the financial institutions are hard on us. The offices are ever closed,” he said.

“They don’t pick up calls. Our workers and those who supplied the materials want to be paid. We have constructed laboratories, classrooms and toilets,” Linus Kibur, a contractor said.

However, the Project Manager for the Pacific Works Engineer Stephen Okach rubbished the claims saying the contractors are always paid, only

that there is a delay in payment by the Government.

“Some were even paid last month,’ he said.

He cited that the contractors are playing politics with some politicians from the area asking those complaining to move to court.

“Some are being used to fight us,” he said.

At least 7,852 primary and 2,147 secondary schools in 30 counties have benefited from Sh20 billion under the Secondary Education Quality Improvement Project (SEQIP) funded by the World Bank through the Ministry of Education to improve infrastructure in learning institutions.

The 6-year project started way back in 2017 and it is expected to end by December 13. 2023.

The project also aims at decongesting schools.

In 2021, former President Uhuru Kenyatta halted all infrastructure development in secondary schools under a Sh22.8 billion to stop the release of funds for construction under the project, citing a need for analysis of secondary schools.

By Evans Kapusia

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