, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 5 – Other than being condemned as the business for ‘the rogue ‘, the transport industry in Kenya and the East African region cannot just be ignored as it’s a major driver of the economy.
The industry employs thousands of people, while it keeps millions on the move as they go to their respective places of work, to play their role in building the economy.
It’s obvious that the sector continues to face major hurdles but it is also evident that it has scaled major heights in improving the reliability, affordability and profitability for the investors.
Kenya, being a lead player in the sector, will this month host a host a transport conference, in a bid to address some of the challenges affecting the industry at the regional level.
According to Matatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai, the conference seeks to address border issues, push for regional acceptance of insurance covers and common operating standards for the sector.
“In Kenya today if you come, you will be required to have fitted a speed governor, your crew must have uniform…these are some of the things that need to be standardised. The speed limit should also be the same,” he stated.
He said “this will improve the flow of goods and people but there are security issues that need to be addressed. We don’t want to transport Al-Shabaab from one country to the other.”
Speaking to Capital FM News on Thursday, Kimutai said the three-day conference will be attended by key transport players within the East African region as well as representatives of the respective governments.
During the conference, a secretariat will be formed to engage regional policy makers as well as push for the implementation of the recommendations raised.
Other than enhancing cross-border business, Kimutai said once the challenges are addressed, the East African Community will be more integrated.
“This will create a cohesive society. We will not look at ourselves as Kenyans, Ugandans…,” he said.
At the country level, he said the association had pushed for real changes that has improved how they deliver their services.
Among the achievements, it includes the introduction of fare charts in every public service vehicle, pre-paid cards and mandatory transport SACCOs.
He however called on the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to change some traffic rules, which he termed as “unfair.”
For instance, he is against the general punishment of a SACCO if one of its vehicles is involved in an accident.
The conference will kick off on 10 to 12 of this month.