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KFS seeks funding for Kisumu, Lamu and Turkana ferry expansion

Kenya Ferry Services Managing Director Bakari Gowa. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG
Kenya Ferry Services Managing Director Bakari Gowa. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG 

Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) is looking for financiers for the expansion of ferry services to Kisumu, Lamu and Turkana counties.

The parastatal is, however, awaiting the National Treasury approval to extend the services.

Speaking in an interview with the Business Daily, KFS managing director Bakari Gowa said the project will be carried out under Public-Private partnership (PPP) after the approval by the ministry.

“By the end of this financial year we will have a position on approval at PPP level as we start looking for financiers.

"We have already submitted copies of our proposals to the National Treasury for screening,” said Mr Gowa.

Lakes Victoria, Turkana

The 2017/2018 financial year ends in June. Mr Gowa said the ferries will be operating at Lakes Victoria and Turkana.

In Lamu, he said, the parastatal will focus on Pate Island where talks with the county administration revealed the struggle residents undergo.

“We have set two teams, one to look at the coastal ferry services and the other on inland water ferry services. Already there is a team that has visited Tanzania for benchmarking so that we can get to know how commercial ferries operate,” said Mr Gowa.

Tanzania's ferry services are commercial unlike Kenya, where ferry services are free.

Kenya is the only country in the world that offers free ferry services. The services are only available in Mombasa at the busy Likoni Channel.

Commercial

Mr Gowa said services that will be offered in the other counties will be commercial.

He said although the plans were on initial stages, they have already engaged the relevant counties.

“For now we have held talks with Kwale and Lamu counties on the same. But after the approval we will do a feasibility study as required. This is a viable project because it can sustain itself without draining the National Treasury,” he said adding that there are ongoing consultations with the Transport ministry.

At the moment, the KFS management is in charge of ferry services at the busy Likoni and Mtongwe channels.

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