State now announces Kisumu port launch
The rehabilitated multi-million-shilling Kisumu port is set to be launched next month, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has said.
In what could put to an end uncertainties that have clouded the port launch in the past few months, Macharia confirmed that the facility was 98 per cent complete ahead of its commissioning by President Uhuru Kenyatta in the next two weeks.
Macharia said the remaining two per cent works on the Sh3 billion refurbished port was due for completion on schedule to pave way for the commissioning.
He, however, did not give a specific date, saying it would be confirmed once the remaining works are cleared.
“We understand there is high anticipation on when the port will be officially commissioned.
From our assessments, we have agreed that the port is 98 per cent ready, what is remaining is just fixing a few things here and there before the official date of opening is confirmed thereafter,” Macharia said yesterday in Kisumu after a meeting with various stakeholders preparing the port for launch.
“Two weeks from now, we will be able to communicate on the opening date once we get a confirmation from the President,” he added.
He said the government will undertake an audit to establish the exact amount of money spent in the port refurbishment upon the completion of the project.
“The port renovation is an ongoing project, we will have the final balance sheet of what has been spent once it is completed,” said the CS.
The President while responding to questions from journalists during his address to the nation from Mombasa earlier this month had said he would be in Kisumu in a few weeks to open the port.
There has been heightened anticipation among Kisumu residents concerning the port launch.
Four Principal Secretaries toured the port in November last year in what was believed to be part of preparations for its opening.
PSs Paul Maringa (Infrastructure), Gordon Kihalangwa (Public Works), Joseph Njoroge (Energy) and Omenge (Mining) had visited the facility to inspect the works.
The team, which is a Cabinet sub-committee of the National Development Implementation Technical Committee confirmed the port was almost ready.
The project was scheduled for launch in August last year but the exercise was postponed indefinitely.
Regional presidents Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Tanzania’s Pombe Magufuli and DRC’s Felix Tshisekedi were expected to attend the ceremony.
The port is the biggest project initiated by the government in Nyanza region since the Handshake between Uhuru and ODM leader Raila Odinga in March 2018.
Traders, economy analysts and county government officials are hoping that a revamp of the facility will open business opportunities and transform the lake side town into a regional economic hub in western Kenya and the larger East Africa.