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Economy

Senators pour cold water on Sh5.8bn Likoni cable car bid

Kimani wa Matangi
Senator Kimani wa Matangi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Senators have waved a red flag over Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) plan to install a Sh5.8 billion cable car at the busy Likoni Channel, saying the project is not viable.

The Roads and Transport Committee of the Senate in a report tabled before the House said the proposed user charges of Sh20 per foreigner were not sustainable.

The Kiambu Senator Kimani wa Matangi-chaired committee questioned how the KFS and the Transport ministry determined the total cost of the project.

“The Sh20 fee that had been prescribed to foreigners and tourists were far below international and comparable charges, which would severely compromise the projected income of the project,” said Mr wa Matangi said in the report.

The Cabinet in August 2018 approved the construction of the Likoni Cable Express, which was set to start last year but has since stalled amid turf wars between KFS and the Kenya National Highway Authority.

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The Senate committee also questioned the capacity of Trapos Limited to undertake the project and directed the KFS to cite similar projects the company has undertaken successfully.

Likoni Cable Express to be built under the public-private partnership between the state and an Australian consortium was projected to take between 12 to 18 months to complete.

The cable system was to have a total of 28 cabins carrying a maximum of 5,500 passengers per hour and cross the channel in three minutes and 40 seconds.

The consortium was expected to exclusively manage and operate the cable cars for 25 years to recoup the initial investment before handing it back to the State. Likoni Cable Car project upon completion would offer a safer means of transport across the channel and create more space for vehicles on the old and the dilapidated ferry.

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