The Kenyan Parliament is debating a bill that seeks to raise the limit for foreign firms bidding for governments contracts from 500 million Kenyan shillings ($3.7 million) to KES 20 billion ($148 million) to protect local contractors.

If the bill is passed, Chinese contractors would likely be impacted most, Kenyan newspaper Business Daily reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, Chinese companies had amassed road and infrastructure contracts worth KES 1 trillion ($7.4 billion) under the Jubilee administration, leaving Kenyan contractors to fight for small roads and sub-contracts. China Communications Construction Co (CCCC) and its subsidiary China Road and Bridges Corporation (CRBC) hold the bulk of the road and railway contracts, worth about KES 777.1 billion ($5.8 billion).

The government earlier said they preferred Chinese firms due to their speed of delivery and costs while accusing local companies of shoddy jobs and uncompetitive bids.

(1 US Dollar = 135.10 Kenyan Shillings)

(Writing by SA Kader; Editing by Anoop Menon)