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Economy

Layoffs as KAA halts cleaning services at airport on slowdown

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) has put on hold contracts worth Sh257 million that it signed with M/s Colnet for cleaning services at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, citing low business due to Covid-19.

The State corporation in a letter sent to M/s Colnet dated April 28 said it pulled the plug on a three- year contract after the firm declined to heed its call to have its charges cut in line with low passenger numbers.

“You have adamantly declined to make any reduction as stated in your letter dated April 20, 2020,” wrote KAA acting managing director Alex Gitari in the letter.

“Kindly be advised that the contract hereby stands suspended with no liability on the part of the authority until such a time when the pandemic is over and normalcy reduced at the authority’s airports.”

In the contract, M/s Colnet, which employs dozens of workers has been offering cleaning services for general areas and toilets at terminals 1B, C, D as well as in cargo freight terminal, old training school cargo village and M-station.

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Yesterday, the KAA officials would not disclose the discount sought from the service provider, only stating that the contract was suspended procedurally.

“In light of the above, the authority has no choice but to invoke clause 21 of the respective contracts and issue notice on the grounds of the pandemic being an event under force majeure,” said Mr Gitari.

The suspension of M/S Colnet’s contract comes barely four years after the KAA terminated a contract by Chinese firms for the planned construction of a new terminal at Nairobi’s JKIA.

KAA cited economic constraints as part of the decision to halt the project even though the contractor had mobilised nearly all the equipment needed to do the job as well as completed 30 percent of the project design.

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