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LAPSSET to Be Complete in October

LAPSSET has revealed that the completion of the Lamu Port’s three berths and container yards will be complete by October 2021.

            Speaking to KNA in Lamu during a tour of the Lamu Port project by the Chairman and key directors of various government agencies namely Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya National Highways Authority LAPSSET Chairman General (Rtd) Joseph Kibwana divulged that the Lamu Port project currently stands at 88 percent completion.

            He further reiterated the national government’s commitment to ensure the project is completed on time, to enable operationalization by way of transshipment later this year.

            The national government has already begun the process of roping in various key agencies such as the Kenya Revenue Authority and KENHA with the aim of ensuring operationalization and viability of the Lamu Port is realized.

            “With the contract amount for completion of the Lamu port standing at Sh 18.993 billion, the LAPSSET project is a key national agenda aimed at opening up not only the Northern corridor but also the Southern Ethiopia and South Sudan,” Kibwana stated.

            The LAPSSET project plan includes a 32-berth port; transportation hubs for rail, highway and international airports in Lamu, Isiolo and Lodwar; an oil pipeline from South Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia to Lamu Port; an oil refinery; and three resort cities in Isiolo, Lamu and Turkana.

            The entire LAPSSET project will cost the government about Sh2.5 trillion once complete.

            The KPA chairman however acknowledged that the key challenge will be to get the full funding needed to complete the Lamu port project on time due to the economic constraints brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

            According to LAPSSET officials Sh 8.8 billion is needed to complete the port project by October 2021.

            The national government had in the previous financial year disbursed Sh 6.5 billion despite the financial constraints due to the novel Covid-19.

            “The success of the LAPSSET project also hinges on the completion of the Lamu-Witu-Garsen road which stands at 87 percent completion and will initially be used before to transport goods until completion of the 255 Kilometre Lamu-Garissa road which will be the road meant to serve the Northern corridor,” he stated.

            General Kibwana further revealed that at least 3,954 fishermen will be compensated by the next financial year following a Malindi High Court ruling of Sh 1.45 billion following dredging works at the Kililana area that destroyed the area’s rich fishing grounds.

            “Apart from the fishermen being compensated, the remaining 400 LAPSSET scholarships will also be handed out to Lamu youths in anticipation of the Port’s commissioning and operationalization,” he stated.

            Also speaking to KNA LAPSSET board director Abdalla Gonzi urged Lamu residents to embrace the project which on operationalization has already employed an initial 100 youths as Dockers ahead of the Lamu Port’s operationalization.

            The Lamu Port will employ at least 1,500 workers once the three berths become fully operational.

By Amenya Ochieng

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