Ports –Mombasa Governor, Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir has demanded that the counties housing ports that are scheduled for privatization be offered a stake in said ports.
In a statement, the Governor explained that this move was aimed at ensuring that the people within those counties whose livelihoods depend on the ports benefit from their privatization.
The ports in question, Mombasa and Lamu ports, have been a bone of contention between coastal leaders and the government, with the leaders demanding full involvement in the entire privatization process.
“Schedule IV of the Constitution of Kenya is clear – County Governments are meant to manage all matters to do with Ports, Ferries and Harbors,” Governor Nassir stated.
“Similar to best practice across the world, the Counties in which Ports are domiciled MUST have a stake in the management and benefits of these assets.”
“We must continue to speak with one voice because whether privatization or concession, the Port will be in private hands.
He explained that if the issue is not resolved now, communities in the coastal region might not get their due.
“If we do not stake a claim for our people now, it will be multiple generations before another opportunity will arise,” he concluded.
To this effect, coastal leaders have sought to engage the government so as to come up with a comprehensive development plan for the coastal area with one of the main areas of concern being the privatization plan.
The leaders led by Senate Speaker Amason Kingi met in Nairobi on October 19, where they resolved to seek an audience with President William Ruto to discuss the region’s developmental issues.
“All the leaders from the six counties will identify the priority areas that we will present before the national government,” former Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho said.
This move is a welcome change from the leaders initial stance over the past few weeks, where they completely opposed the Kenya Ports Authority’s plan to privatise sections of Mombasa and Lamu ports.
“If they had a chance, they would have sold the water in the ocean,” Nassir stated at the time.
This was after, KPA’s Managing Director William Ruto invited bids from those interested in the development and operation of private assets through Public Private Partnerships (PPP), on September 12.
Interested bidders were asked to choose from Lamu Container Terminal Berths 1 to 3, Lamu Special Economic Zone, Mombasa Port’s Berths 11 to 14, and Mombasa Port Container Terminal 1.
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