The Kenya Ports Authority’s is on the spot over its alleged failure to involve the public on a plan to lease out its assets.
Some lobby groups say KPA being the single most important natural asset for Mombasa County and one of the most profitable state corporations must be handled with utmost care demanding full disclosure of information and public participation before implementation.
“Whereas the National Government may have powers to privatize or give concessions on state corporations like KPA and whereas concessions in some cases may not be a bad thing depending on the terms of the privatization or concession agreement. We are aware that there is a procedure to follow before any of this is done,” said Bishop Tee Nalo of the ACK church.
The clergy lashed out at KPA for failure to involve local leaders and port stakeholders before commencing the process of leasing their assets.
“Why undertake such a serious matter and then purport to consult the leaders later after voices have been raised? What is being hidden from the county leaders and the people of Mombasa?’’ asked Bishop Nalo adding that there was no feasibility study or public participation.
They said they are opposing privatization or concession because proper procedures are not being followed.
“In this country, we are alive to the fact that things happen, the leaders deny any wrongdoing only for things to come to the light later after the damage has been done.” said Nalo.
On their part, the Taireni Mijikenda Association (TMA) urged KPA to extend the deadline for qualification of bidders for the development and operations of port assets for 60 days to give room for consultations between KPA, Ministry of Transport and stakeholders.
KPA had set 12th October as the deadline before the qualification documents are opened promptly before the bidders’ representative who will elect to attend.
“Regardless of how good the intentions are in these proposed transactions, to an ordinary taxpayer, what is important is the full disclosure of how public interests will be protected against private interests,” said TMA Chairman Peter Kadzeha.
Globally port concessioning or privatization Kadzeha explained takes different forms each with its own potential risks and opportunities.
“The absence of official information on the justification, process, context and content of the proposed type and model of port concessioning or privatization from the government therefore has led to both necessary and unnecessary speculation by stakeholders who have become increasingly anxious and fearing for the unknown,” said Kadzeha.
However, on Friday KPA Chairman Benjamin Tayari assured Kenyans and Coast leaders that they are not privatizing the port but doing concessions that will result in more revenues and jobs.
On 6th September 2023 KPA Managing Director Capt. William Ruto invited sealed bids from eligible tenderers for the qualification of bidders for the development and operation of Port Assets through Public Private Partnerships (PPSs).
Lamu Port Container Terminal Berth 1-3, Lamu Special Economic Zone Mombasa Port Berth 11-14 and Mombasa Container Terminal 1 are earmarked to be developed and operated through Public-private-partnership.