The govt has suspended a contentious order for cargo transport from Mombasa to Nairobi using the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
“The order was suspended in order to pave the way for stakeholder consultations,” an official said, “there is agreement on this issue between the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).
The suspension announced on Tuesday night came hours after the National Assembly directed James Macharia, Secretary of the Cabinet for Transport and Infrastructure, to appear before the Committee on Transport on Thursday.
The directive stipulated that the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Nairobi should be hauled to clear all cargo from the port in Mombasa.
Deputy Speaker Moses Cheboi declared the order for the appearance of the CS on Monday as he granted a request by Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir to suspend House business for MPs as a matter of domestic significance to address the directive.
“The only thing I can do to make it a little more serious is to order the Transport CS to appear on Thursday at 10 am in front of the Transport Committee,” Cheboi said.
“I’m sure we’ve accomplished two stuff if that’s done, that Hon Nassir will have the opportunity to prosecute his problem for 30 minutes, which will be like a precursor to the CS’s appearing.”
Nassir, who is also Chairman of the House Public Investments Committee, said that the order that takes impact from Thursday will kill the clearing and forwarding companies, container freight stations, trucking, warehousing and other associated companies that employ thousands of people in the Coast region.
“The amount of railway tax per ton of products transported is presently uncertain. There are concerns that the final price of products will be impacted while road transport firms are impacted.”
“I, therefore, call on the government to provide the recent SGR price and use statistics and to explain who should be the SGR solely because it is essential to have a liberal market where private business people can choose the mode of transporting their products,” the Mvita MP said.
House Majority Leader Aden Duale, Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali and Minority Deputy Whip Chris Wamalwa endorsed the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) request to postpone all House Business to deliberate on the move.
Kisumu Town West MP Olago Aluoch informed the Speaker that the Committee on Delegated Legislation should further investigate whether KPA and KRA followed the set dowry
“Not only are the directive and the circular monopoly, but they also have a poor taste. In my opinion, this is an effort to circumvent the Statutory Instruments Act. “Kitui South MP Rachael Nyamai, Lungalunga MP Khatib Mwashetani, said that infrastructural development should benefit the regions where construction is taking place but, unfortunately, SGR did the reverse.
“Businesses are dying on the road from Mombasa to Chumvi all the way to Nairobi, cities are dying and businessmen can’t go on so we’re not just talking about transporters,” Nyamai said.
“It is unfair for the state to continue to make the coast suffer as a result of China’s loan.
Local companies should not be punished for something that is not their fault, “indicated Mwashetani in his speech.
Minority leader John Mbadi added: “We all know that the govt informed us when the SGR was mooted that it would finance its own repayment. Now the government can not force Kenyans to pay for their incapacity to fulfill their agencies ‘ objectives.