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President orders 24hr border shifts

NAIROBI, August 11 – President Mwai Kibaki on Tuesday directed the port of Mombasa to implement a 24 hour, 7 day work shift.

According to a statement from the Presidential Press Service, the directive would also apply to border entry points at Lunga Lunga, Taveta, Namanga, Isabenia and Malaba.

The President said that all the relevant government organs had one week to fully implement the directive.

He further ordered that cargo clearance at the port be reduced from the current 48 hours to a maximum of 24 hours.

To protect the country’s roads, a ban on trucks with four axle-loads will be put in place, and modalities of implementing this directive are to be announced soon.

The President further ordered that unnecessary police roadblocks that delay the free movement of goods be done away with.

He made the decree after meeting Ministers and Permanent Secretaries in the ministries of Trade, Finance, Security, Immigration, Transport and Roads at his Harambee House office.

The meeting reviewed the steps that must be urgently taken to speed up the movement of goods along the vital Northern Corridor transport system, and other entry points around the country.

The meeting also resolved that there would be a speed up of the process on weighing cargo at weigh-bridges.

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Vehicles will now be weighed only at source, but only with regards to enclosed cargo, which must have seals for easy recognition by officials from the Roads Ministry and the police.

The President further said that the Kenya Ports and Kenya Revenue Authorities should immediately harmonise their laws and regulations on cargo clearance.

The Harambee House meeting was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister and Trade Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti, Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang, Transport Minister Chirau Ali Mwakere and acting Finance Minister John Michuki.

Roads Assistant Minister Dr Wilfred Machage, Permanent Secretaries in the relevant ministries, officials from the Kenya Revenue Authority and the Police were also in attendance.

Elsewhere, Kenyatta revealed that the government was considering concessioning part of the port to enhance service delivery.

Terming it as an idea whose time has long passed, the DPM said such a move would not only contribute to job creation but also help ease and improve the flow of traffic at the port.

“As part of expanding services, as part of involving the private sector in infrastructure development, it has been agreed that we will concession (part of) the port,” the Minister stressed.

He told reporters that to avoid facing the pitfalls experienced with the Kenya Uganda Railway concessionaire, Rift Valley Railways (RVR), the government would be careful in choosing the right partner with the financial capability to undertake the project.

“We are learning some of these things as we move along and we need to have an in-depth look into what these people are and their ability to carry out this work.”

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