LAPSSET to Receive shs 8.9 billion
The LAPSSET Corridor project once completed will positively contribute to the growth of the country’s gross Domestic Product (GDP) by three percent .
The Ministry of East African Community Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said during a familiarisation tour of the Lamu Port project in Kililana Friday that the national government had disbursed Shs 8.9 billion for the 2018/2019 financial year to aid in facilitating completion of the first berth that is set to be completed in December this year.
However, optimally, the Lamu Port project for the completion of the first three berths requires Kshs 10 billion in order to meet the 2020 deadline.
The funding is also likely to offset some of the contractors dues owed by the national government which will provide them with the impetus to resume works which had since slowed since January this year.
Works at the Lamu Port by the Chinese Communication Construction Company, the projects main contractors had slowed earlier this year but according to LAPSETT sources the funding may be released as early as August this year.
He said that more funds are likely to be disbursed in the supplementary budget which will be ready in September later this year.
The project has also experienced delays in the completion of the first berth that had a June 2018 completion deadline.
The CS who was on his first visit to Lamu accompanied by LAPSETT Chairman Francis Muthaura and Director General Silvester Kasuku further stated that the northern corridor which has in the past been economically marginalised will experience a boom once the project is completed.
“The national government is also in the process of setting aside funds for the off-take of the Lamu Isiolo road,” Munya stated.
He further said that there will be an economic boom for the Northern and Eastern corridor with many towns likely to rise along the pipeline route from Turkana to Lamu.
“The investment that the national government is making will spur thousands of informal sector jobs ,mainly in the manufacturing sector, with special zones being demarcated in Lamu for Export Processing Zones,” the CS said.
Munya further commended the county’s security apparatus for tackling insecurity fears and ensuring that the Lamu Port project remains on course.
“There is a strong political will to ensure the LAPSETT project is a success especially with the initiative being tied to three countries within the region.
The LAPSETT project is expected to provide transport and logistical solutions to Ethiopia, South Sudan and Uganda.
The Lamu port project which is presently at 52 percent completion against the target set of 68 percent by 2018 for the first three berths is expected to maintain its scheduled 2020 completion date.
LAPSSET Director General Silvester Kasuku said that the project remains on course with assurances from the national government.
“The government has released already Kshs 2.3 billion to aid to ramping up works at the Lamu port to ensure that the Vision 2030 project remains on course,” Kasuku stated.
KPA Engineer Abdullahi Sumatar who also spoke to KNA over the project’s status expressed optimism that the first three berths once completed will be able to handle a 1.2 million TEUs which dwarfs Kilindini Port present capacity of handling 1 million TEUs with 19 berths.
By Amenya Ochieng