Retrenchment Looms As Gov’t Mulls Privatisating One Of Mombasa Port Terminals

The port of Mombasa. [PHOTO/ COURTESY]

A move by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) to outsource manpower is causing employees at the government parastatal sleepless nights.

Reports indicate that some of the employees have interpreted the move as targeted at ‘testing waters’ ahead of envisaged retrenchment.

“Kenya Ports Authority has a target of 100pc verification of containers. The authority seeks for provisions of manpower services from vendors to provide the services at the Port of Mombasa and Inland Container Depot, Nairobi as and when need arises, ” KPA says in tender number KPA/106/2018-19/MO.

It’s estimated that the contract shall run for a period of three years and the service provider will work closely with the general manager of operations, Captain William Ruto.

Local media reports indicate that the tender has been reserved for a top politician.

The notice has elicited a heated debate on why the intended verification exercise can’t be carried out by readily available port employees.

Further reports indicate that the government is in the process of handing over the operations of Mombasa port’s second terminal to a private operator.

The multibillion terminal lucrative deal has attracted a dozen of international port operators.

However, James Macharia’s ministry of Transport wants the Kenya National Shipping Line (KNSL), said to be on its death bed, to operate the terminal.

The ministry of Transport is also on the spot over claims that it wants to go on with the deal without the involvement of key industrial players, other stakeholders and the parliamentary approval.

Some of the operators who showed interest in the deal include Dubai World, Chine group PSA International in partnership with a local group Multiple Hauliers, Cisco Pacific and Paramount Bank of Singapore and Signon Group of kenya (linked to the Moi family).

To win the government’s favour, Dubai World through United Arab Emirates is reported to have offered to lend Kenya billions of shillings in exchange for the terminal.

Read:KPA Acting Managing Director Daniel Manduku To Be Ousted In Recruitment Process

Following the move to privatize the terminal, some analysts have criticized the government’s move, saying it’ll open the country to increased cases of contraband goods and drug trafficking. Thus, concluding that it will be a dangerous venture.

Further, dock workers union are said to have issued a warning to the state against handing over the terminal to KNSL.

The union states that KNSL lacks the capacity to manage the terminal efficiently. They further argue that the government’s move lacks a legal backing.

The new developments at the parastatal come at a time the port is expected to host Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni this week.

The Ugandan government seeks to continue exporting and importing its goods through the Mombasa port.

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Written by Wycliffe Nyamasege


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