Ensure ports leasing benefits the taxpayer


President William Ruto presides over the 60th Madaraka Day celebrations at the Moi Stadium Embu on June 1, 2023. PHOTO | PCS

The plan to lease some sections of Dongo Kundu, Kilindini, Lamu, Kisumu and Shimoni Fisheries ports at Sh1.4 trillion in a public-private partnership is a major announcement.

Because it directly impacts how Kenya does and benefits from trade of its neighbours requiring efficient and affordable port services.

According to the Kenya Development Corporation (KDC), the Kenya Kwanza administration is looking for investors interested in the juggernaut of a project.

Whether this is the right direction to take will depend on its execution, especially when the government does a stellar job in picking strategic investors.

Carefully analysing the bids and picking the best of the best is important because ports are crucial State resources that should benefit the taxpayer or anyone who is interested in using the facilities to boost Kenya’s humanitarian causes.

It, therefore, requires putting Kenya’s best brains in the maritime sector at work with the right intentions to ensure that the leasing does not bar the right people from using the facility when only commercial muscle leads the way.

No, that would be equivalent to tossing such resources out the window for a song while the rightful owners suffer.

It is also worth noting that the neighbouring countries are burning the midnight to improve port facilities with the eyes on Kenya’s business by promising the landlocked countries faster evacuation.

The leasing must, therefore, unravel the challenge of congestion as the KDC says in its pitch.