In Summary:
– The products involved in the construction of roads include soil stabiliser and strengthener, soil hardener, soil sealant, asphalt and binder.
– Mr Cheng said the establishment of a probase technology factory would cut costs and create more jobs for the youth.
– Governors, who were impressed by the cheap technology, said they would also seek to use it in their counties.

Probase Manufacturing, a low-cost road construction firm from Malaysia, will set up a factory in the country in the next two years.

The company’s managing director, Seow Cheng Soon, told Nation.co.ke the company was looking for land in a convenient location to manufacture various products required in constructing roads through the Probase Standard technology.

The products involved in the construction of roads include soil stabiliser and strengthener, soil hardener, soil sealant, asphalt and binder.

Mr Soon spoke during the launch of the 10-kilometre Kianjai-Mikinduri road built using probase technology road by Meru Governor Peter Munya at Urru Stadium in Tigania West.

The function was attended by Trans-Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba, Martin Wambora (Embu), Nadhif Jama (Garissa), Samuel Ragwa (Tharaka-Nithi), Ukur Yattani (Marsabit) and Moses Akaranga (Vihiga).

“Though we are in other countries in Africa, we have had (a) major breakthrough in Kenya. The pilot project in Meru is opening opportunities in other parts of the county. We are scouting for land to set up a factory in the next two years,” Mr Cheng said.

He said they had already set up a quality lab in the country and trained about 80 youth in the probase technology in every county.

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Mr Cheng said the establishment of a probase technology factory would cut costs and create more jobs for the youth.

The technology, launched in 1998, is currently being used in 13 countries in the world, including Uganda.

Meru is the first county in Kenya to use the technology. A kilometre of probase road costs Sh22 million.

Unlike in normal road construction, where two layers of road are paved, the new technology uses surface dressing where one layer is compressed until no water can penetrate.

The Malaysian company will maintain the pilot project, funded by the Meru County government, for five years without extra costs.

Mr Munya said the county was waiting for the national government’s approval before Meru could get the loan from Malaysia’s Exim Bank to construct 300 kilometres. The interest rate is pegged at three per cent.

“The loan is subject to approval by the national government and we are requesting them to fast-track the process so infrastructure can be opened up in this and other counties,” he said.

The governors, who were impressed by the cheap technology, said they would also seek to use it in their counties.

“Infrastructure has been a major hindrance for counties, especially in northern Kenya. But such a road exemplifies the success of devolution,” Mr Juma said.

Mr Ragwa said the technology would be applied in his county so that the far-flung areas could be opened up to more economic opportunities.