The Parliamentary select committee on Finance and Planning has called for more consistency in funding key government projects to ensure that they are completed on time and to the public’s benefit.
Homa Bay County Women Representative and Chairman to PSC committee on finance and planning Gladys Wanga made the remarks in Lamu county during a visit of the Lamu Port project over the weekend which has been pegged by treasury to receive Sh 6 billion in the 2020/2021 financial year.
Optimally, the Lamu Port project requires Sh 11 billion annually to ensure that it was completed in time for operationalisation.
However, the COVID-19 effects on the national economy has slowed the progress of the Lamu Port which has so far completed its first berth with the remaining two berths expected to be complete in October 2021.
The port had been scheduled for commissioning in December this year, but has been pushed to October 2021 with works on the two remaining container yards for the remaining berths ongoing.
She stated that although progress on the Lamu Port has been commendable, there is need to speed up efforts to commission the project in order to provide jobs to Kenyans.
“The PSC committee on Finance and Planning will be making recommendations to urge treasury to increase its budgetary allocation,” Wanga stated.
She said that the project remains one of the key Vision 2030 project that the President is keen on and the committee would be making an appeal to ensure greater funding for the project in a bid to facilitate its operationalisation.
Sentiments echoed by Lamu West MP Stanley Muthama who stated that there is need to consider local youths for jobs within the Lamu Port once operations begin next year.
He commended the progress of the Lamu Port and urged LAPSSET Corridor Development Authority (LCDA) and KPA to facilitate compensation of farmers and affected fishermen with the coming of the Port in Kililana area.
The Lamu West legislator said that consensus needs to be reached soon between the affected parties and national government to ensure that there are no disenfranchised parties as the LAPSSET project gains ground in enhancing the country’s logistics potential.
“A lot of progress has also been made by the national government in the construction of the Lamu-Witu-Garsen Highway which stands at least 70 percent and has already had a positive impact on road travel as well as security in the area,” Muthama said.
LAPSSET General Manager in Charge of Infrastructure Engineer Abdullahi Samatar also expressed optimism over the Lamu Port’s scheduled commissioning later next year stating that requisition for the cranes and transhipment loading and unloading equipment has begun.
According to KPA officials, requisition for the new loading and unloading cranes could take as long as 18 months.
By Amenya Ochieng