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Sale of port still not complete, says commission

NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 11 – The Privatisation Commission has denied approving plans to sell the Port of Mombasa amid protests from local leaders over the proposal.

The Executive Director of the Privatisation Commission Solomon Kitungu said they were yet to prepare a detailed proposal for projects under the Kenya Ports Authority as the work is still in the preliminary stages.

"We completed due diligence and public-private-partnership option analysis work in November last year and have not yet undertaken the next step which is to share the due diligence findings and recommendations with stakeholders," Mr Kitungu  said.

Leaders from the Coastal region have strongly opposed the proposals arguing it would disadvantage people from the area and limit economic development.
The privatisation commission plans to hold a consultative stakeholders\’ workshop towards the end of this month before preparing a privatisation proposal to be submitted to the Treasury. 

"The privatisation process is fully entrenched in the law provides for comprehensive consultative framework and consensus building process to ensure that the program addresses socio-economic concerns such as effects on employment," he said.

According to Mr Kitungu, privatisations under the programmed are premised on national benefits such as the improvement of infrastructure and the delivery of public service by the involvement of private capital and expertise.

The scope of the on-going work is limited to three projects in the program, which urgently require mobilisation of funds, efficiency improvement and use of idle assets.

This includes the review of the possibility of converting berths 11 to 14 to a container terminal and the use of idle assets of the Eldoret Inland Container Terminal.

"In a bid to ensure key stakeholders were informed on the process, the Commission made presentations to the KPA board of directors, senior management and the Dock Workers Union officials in October 2009," Mr Kitungu said.

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Mr Kitungu said one of the key objectives of the program was to enhance the Port\’s cargo handling capacity and create more jobs.

The existing terminal, which was designed to handle 250,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent units (TEUs), is now handling 695,000 TEUs.

Port statistics indicate cargo volumes have increased from 12 million in 2002 to 20 million today.

This activities come at a time when the government is set to dredge-deepen and widen berths and ship turning basin to accommodate bigger vessels-at a cost of Sh7 billion this year.

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