Utalii College In Kilifi To Cost Sh11bn instead of Initial Sh4.9 billion Once Complete.
Tourism and hospitality stakeholders are requesting the release of Sh1.9 billion for the completion of phase 1 of the multibillion-dollar Ronald Ngala Utalii College in Kilifi county.
The first phase of the project, which began in 2010, took about 12 years.
The initial cost of the project was Sh4.9 billion, but due to delays and a lack of funding on time, it will end up costing Sh11 billion when completed next year.
Ronald Ngala Utalii College is one of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s coastal legacy projects.
The president is expected to open the facility before leaving office in August. Its first intake is expected before the end of August.
The facility was toured on Wednesday by tourism stakeholders from the coast, including the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers, the Kenya Association of Tour Operators and Pubs, and the Entertainment and Restaurants Association of Kenya.
President Kenyatta was asked to intervene to ensure that the funds are released on time by the Ministry of Tourism so that the project can be completed by July.
According to KAHC Coast executive director Sam Ikwaye, the college will help train tourism professionals while also revitalizing the economy of Kilifi and the Coast region as a whole.
“However, the delay in completion of this project is a big concern for us in the tourism profession. As a country, we are losing a lot of money due to the delays being experienced in this project,” he said.
He stated that they have credible reports that the government released funds in December for the completion of phase 1 of the project, but that the funds have yet to be released to the Tourism Fund.
Diani Sea Resort manager Pauline Nduva expressed concern about the length of time it has taken to complete the project.
Eden Odhiambo, the Tourism Fund’s director of research and resource mobilization, stated that the project is now 75% complete.
Currently, one of the major issues has been the project’s financing. However, according to Eden, the government has promised to release funds through the Tourism Promotion Fund.
He also stated that the first phase will cost at least Sh1 billion to complete, with an additional Sh2.1 billion needed to complete the entire project.
He said project was supposed to cost Sh4.9 billion back in 2013, but it didn’t happen due to a lack of funding.
“The cost went high because of the prices of material and equipment. For example, the prices of aluminium have gone up by 300 per cent, and cement increased by almost 100 per cent. Therefore, the cost really had to change.”
He stated that the project began in 2010 when the consultant arrived on site and began the design, but the contractor’s work began in 2013.
The first phase was supposed to be finished in five years and ready by 2018, but it has been delayed by four years.
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The college will have an administration block, two tuition blocks, a state-of-the-art kitchen facility, a dining room, and one block for the hostels in the first phase.
The project’s Phase 2 is expected to include a student library, a student center, an additional hostel block, staff quarters, and a 5,000-person capacity multi-purpose hall.