No under currents for TEAMS, says PS

March 10, 2009

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 10 – The government on Tuesday issued an assurance that installation of The East African Marine System (TEAMS) fibre optic cable by June was still on course.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication Bitange Ndemo said the project’s technical and financial aspects were still intact, although he admitted that costs may shoot up due to insecurity in the Somali waters.

He was speaking during the signing of the shareholders’ subscription and loan agreement to pave way for privatisation of the cable.  “We as the government have already submitted our funds, and we are expecting another of our partners with a 20 percent shareholding to be submitting their money (on Wednesday),” Mr Ndemo said.

The public-private partnership is 20 percent owned by the government of Kenya, Safaricom and Telkom Kenya claim a 20 percent stake each, while Kenya Data Networks and Econet Wireless Kenya own 10 percent each.

The PS said laying of the fibre optic cable should begin by March 24 to be completed by June.

“Nobody should cheat you that any cable has landed in the coast, all that is happening at the shoreline is preparation for the laying of the cable because the ships cannot get there, they can only get to a particular distance,” Mr Ndemo explained, in reference to reports that the SEACOM cable had already landed in Mombasa.

He allayed fears that three cables landing in the country would provide more capacity than the country could handle.

“We have capacity for up to 10 cables because our intention is to make this country a regional communication hub,” the PS explained.

Meanwhile Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Joseph Kinyua said the Attorney General has given all the necessary approvals for the project.

“All the sub-systems have been fully manufactured and assembled,” Mr Kinyua said. “In effect, TEAMS is now a fully fledged company”.

Mr Kinyua said the project would stimulate growth in terms of investment in the special economic zones to the tune of $10 billion in the next three years

“The government has already paid Sh1.6 billion for its portion of shares. All shareholders will contribute a total of Sh10.4 billion,” Mr Ndemo said.

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