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No merger but teamwork by KPA, rails, pipeline - MPs

The reported merger has divided the Dock Workers Union that fears job losses

In Summary

• After touring the port, the National Assembly Finance committee said there will be merger of the three corporations, only a cooperation pact to improve services.

• Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir had asked Treasury CS Yatani to explain the 'merger' following rising tensions about possible job losses.

 

National Assembly Finance and Planning Committee chair Gladys Wanga at the Mombasa port on Friday.
NO MERGER: National Assembly Finance and Planning Committee chair Gladys Wanga at the Mombasa port on Friday.
Image: BRIAN OTIENO

MPs have tried to allay fears of job losses and said there would be no merger of the Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Railways and Kenya Pipeline Company.

They said there will only be a cooperation agreement to streamline and enhance services by the three corporations.

The National Assembly Finance and Planning Committee toured the port on Friday and Saturday morning. It was led by Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga.

"We cannot get total efficiency if Kenya Railways, the Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Pipeline work separately,” Wanga said on Friday.

Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, who is not a committee member, had in Parliament asked Treasury CS Ukur Yatani to explain the reported merger following increasing tension over possible job losses. He hosted the committee.

On Friday, he said the cooperation move by President Uhuru Kenyatta is just a new direction that will not lead to any job losses.

“It is a working cooperation so when one corporation does something, the others knows what is being done to avoid duplication of work,” Nassir said.

“The other issues of job losses are not there.”

Lamu West MP Stanley Muthama, a committee member, said the cooperation is mainly to improve sufficiency.

"When these three corporations cooperate, there will be effectiveness of service delivery leading to value for money,” Muthama said.

He said the agreement will benefit both domestic investors and exporters.

Wanga said the Covid-19 pandemic did not have a significant impact on cargo and customs operations at the port.

Domestic taxes took a hit, she said.

The merger has divided Dock Workers Union officials.

Chairman Mohammed Sheria insists the agreement will have more than 700 casualties, especially those in management and security departments.

He accused union general secretary Simon Sang of pushing for the merger at the expense of port jobs.

Sang said, however, the merger was not his doing and he has nothing to do with any recommendations he has ever given the government.

However, both have opposed a merger.

The union says it will move to court to stop a merger.

The situation - merger or nonmerger - remains unclear.

(Edited by V. Graham)