, BERLIN, Germany, Apr 9 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has defended the decision to terminate the Green Field terminal project at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in the face of criticism for the decision from CORD leader Raila Odinga who was co-principal of the grand coalition government under whose administration the idea was birthed.
President Kenyatta said it was a decision that, “has nothing to do with anything else,” except the “prudent management of public resources”.
He said the infrastructure that was quickly put up after the international arrivals terminal was destroyed by fire in August 2013 is sufficient to meet the needs of passengers who transit through Nairobi.
“We established that with all the additional facilities we had now done, we had developed an airport that was capable of handling 8 million passengers per year. Now doesn’t therefore make sense that (sic) if you have already established the numbers you were looking for, why do we need to spend another Sh50 billion to achieve what we have already achieved.
“That is the simple logic that we are using. Let us now focus on roads and other areas that that money would be better utilised and spend,” he said.
In the last financial year, the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) reported handling 6.5 million passengers and with a capacity for 7.5 million, they argued, further expansion through the Sh50 billion Green Field project was unnecessary.
“It is envisaged that by the time the modernisation of Terminal 1B, C and D is done, the total handling capacity will increase to a peak of 10.5 million passengers per annum,” Acting Managing Director Yatich Kangugo announced on March 29.
But Odinga disagrees, insisting that “The cancellation of the Greenfield Nairobi airport will deny Kenyans strategic expansion and kill our competitiveness. Further, the cancellation at a minimum will cost Kenya taxpayers Sh15 billion.”
These costs many further rise to unknown figures if the Government is taken to court for breach of contract.” The former prime minister was speaking on Saturday during his own State of the Nation address.
Leader of the Majority in the Senate Kithure Kindiki together with other Jubilee MPs has accused Odinga of pushing for the Green Field project on account of his personal interests.
“All these controversial projects which the CORD leader hoped would be financed with the Eurobond are massive kickback schemes presented as critical national projects.
“Odinga is obviously angry at the Jubilee administration for its refusal to use the Eurobond to finance these rackets which were designed by shady and corrupt networks both inside and outside the Grand Coalition administration,” he said.