21 November 2012

Kenya: Lamu Port Project on Track - Official

THE Lamu port project commissioned by President Kibaki earlier this year is on course with the port headquarters already taking shape.

Secretary for Infrastructure in the Office of the Prime Minister Sylvester Kasuku said the building of the headquarters is six months ahead of schedule.

Kasuku who supervised the project this week said the four storey building is expected to be completed by March. "We expect it to be complete in good time in readiness for the port construction itself," said Kasuku. "We will have office space for all teams involved with the project."

He said some of the teams that will use the office include, the oil pipepline and the port team which will use the offices to interact with the government team.

Kasiku said the port police station and officers houses are under construction, "to ensure that we are up and running with the project's support facilities by mid next year."

Kasuku said there is a power transmission line being built from Rabai in Kilifi to the port of Lamu. "The 400km line will connect Lamu with a 220 kilovolt line of power to ensure the port has enough electric power capacity," said Kasuku.

President Kibaki led his Southern Sudan counterpart President Salva Kiir, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and the then Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in launching the project in March.

The Lamu Port Southern Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) also known as the Second Transport Corridor comprises the Lamu port at Manda Bay, a railway line, highway, oil refinery, oil pipe line and airports at Isiolo, Lamu and Lodwar.

The project will see Lamu, Isiolo and Lodwar turned into resort towns and special economic zones especially Lamu town. The transport corridor project is estimated at Sh2 trillion which is about half of the Kenya's GDP. The corridor is expected to generate about 2 to 3 per cent growth in GDP annually.

"Other investments like refineries and agricultural are being attracted to the corridor which means we are talking about another 8 to 10 percent of the GDP," Kasuku said.

He said the government is also sensitive to the plight of Lamu people hence residents will be fully involved in the port. "We are training them to understand the project and have it improve their livelihoods. We have training and skill upgrading programme in different sectors," said Kasuku.

The multi-trillion shilling project is expected to exploit the vast resources in Coast and Northern Kenya that will catapult the country into a medium income economy by 2030.

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