The Sh2 billion Kisumu Oil Jetty will remain idle until later in 2021, extending the long wait for utilisation of the facility completed in February 2018.
A State agency says it has assessed development of the Ugandan jetty, which was meant to receive fuel delivered by tankers from Kenya, and found it to be far from completion, rendering the facility on the shores of Lake Victoria unusable for now.
Kenya Pipeline Company Managing Director Irungu Macharia said the facility, which was meant to start operations in January next year, will have to wait longer after a team from the company visited the neighbouring country in March and found poor progress on the other side. Their completion timelines have been changing since it was started in 2013.
"The Kisumu oil jetty has been delayed by the delay in completion of complementary facilities in Uganda. The timing of the jetty development was pegged on the construction of a jetty, vessels and receiving depot in Uganda by a private investor (Mhathi Infra). It was estimated that the works would be completed by November 2020 and operations would commence by January 2021. This has, however, been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic," Mr Ngugi told senators while responding to the status of the controversial jetty project.
His predecessor Hudson Andambi last year said the Ugandan jetty would be ready by August 2019, based on a similar assessment by a KPC technical team that had visited the country earlier.
He said there were still "several compliance processes" and the need for a 4.2 million litre barges (a flat-bottomed ship) to ferry fuel across the lake before the mission to use the jetty is successful.
Uganda Minister for Works and Transport, Ms Monica Azuba, had also announced that the Entebbe Jetty would be ready by July 2019, in readiness to start receiving shipments from Kenya.
Uganda had used a public-private partnership arrangement to put up the jetty, running into delays that added to the controversy on the Kisumu jetty, which that has remained idle for close to three years and which saw several managers at KPC forced to step aside.
Mr Macharia said investigations on the jetty were still ongoing as some cases progressed in the courts.
"With respect to the investigations undertaken on the contract, KPC cooperated with the DCI team by providing all requested information," the KPC boss said.
The jetty plan is further complicated by massive investments Kenya has pumped into the Kisumu port, where a rail-mounted ship is already being used to ferry fuel.
The government is also planning to upgrade the Naivasha-Kampala metre gauge railway line, which may prove more efficient in the petrol transport business.