Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Regional Coordinator Joseph Tonui has revealed that the revenue collector is working on a raft of incentives aimed at encouraging investors to use the Lamu Port as a regional logistics hub.
Speaking in Lamu during a tour of the Lamu Port after a meeting with KRA officials based in Lamu, Tonui stated that the recent export of 15,000 livestock to Oman last month was a watershed moment for exporters to consider using the Lamu Port which he added had already been operationalized with Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) already making plans to bring in new equipment that will aid in the loading and offloading of cargo ships.
“KRA has been able to collect Sh 35 million in revenue since the port was operationalized last year with only a handful of ships so far bringing business to the port,” he said, adding that there was great potential for investors willing to take the chance to import or export via the Lamu Port.
Since Lamu port started operations on May 20 last year, KRA has so far cleared 13 vessels at the new port.
These vessels include one of the local imports, 11 with transshipment consignments, and one with export cargo.
He stated that among the incentives already in place is the 10-dollar transshipment waiver on all goods brought for further transshipment via the Lamu Port.
“Also among the incentives is that there is no levy for the export of goods meaning that, exporters can go further and work out more incentives with the county government which can provide more incentives such as providing land for putting up of factories by investors under the auspices of special economic zones,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by Lamu Governor Issa Timamy, who further stated that the county government had already offered to lease an extra 100 acres to Al Bashayer Meat Company, a public owned Omani state company that is involved in the export of livestock through the Lamu Port.
Al Bashayer Meat Company will now export livestock through the Lamu Port after every 21 days, subject to a bi-monthly agreement if Kenya is able to cope with the export expectations.
So far the company has leased 100 acres as a livestock holding ground in Hindi Ward’s Bargoni area for the vaccination of livestock before export through the Lamu Port.
“Lamu County through its port is in a prime position to create jobs both directly and indirectly for hundreds if not thousands of youths, once the livestock export opportunity gains ground,” Lamu Senator Joseph Githuku stated.
The senator further noted that with the increase in job opportunities and revenue both for the country and the county, there will be a need to increase the county’s budgetary allocation to match the expected huge influx of people into the county.
On his part, Lamu Port General Manager Vincent Sidai stated that the Lamu Port had already held extensive meetings with vehicle importers to use the Lamu Port as a logistics hub to complement the Kilindini Port in Mombasa.
“Lamu has three berths that can hold more than 1 million Twenty Equivalent Units (TEUs) containers and we would like to assure importers that the national government is working towards completing the Lamu-Garissa highway that will complete the road network for the Northern corridor,” said Sidai.
Lamu County Commissioner Macharia Irungu further stated that the national government had ramped up efforts to secure the Northern Corridor, especially the Lamu-Garissa road which is currently under construction.
By Amenya Ochieng