The government has no plan to privatise the Kenya Ports Authority, Finance minister Njeru Githae said on Thursday. The minister said the cabinet suspended the port privatisation plan a year ago and has not resumed such talks and there is no intention to do so soon.
"The government is not planning to privatise KPA," Githae said at a press conference . He was reacting to a protest by the Dock Workers Union after they interpreted recent remarks from him on the port, saying this was against an agreement signed last year.
Deputy prime minister Musalia Mudavadi also said during the presidential debate on Monday that the Mombasa port ought to be privatised to improve performance.
Union officials said they would mobilise Coast residents to take part in a major protest if the two officials fail to withdraw their remarks and give assurances that this was not the intention of the government.
Githae on Tuesday spoke about undertaking Private-Public partnerships in infrastructure developments such as roads, ports, airport and energy projects. "PPP is quite different from privatisation, in PPP there is no transfer of ownership," he said in his response.
In the past, the proposal to sell off the port to private hands has erupted sharp opposition from KPA employees and coast residents who fear they could lose their job in the hands of private player. The option of privatising was proposed as a way to improve efficiency of the port.