Joho to push for creation of free port

By Patrick Beja

MOMBASA, KENYA: Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has laid out a comprehensive plan to transform the county, including raising revenue from the port of Mombasa. ?

Joho said he would push for establishment of a free port and fish port to boost trade and create employment.

 Speaking during the official opening of the Mombasa County Assembly in the coastal city on Thursday, Joho pledged to also develop a unique tourism brand and encourage establishment of new tourist facilities, and tackle the nagging squatter and housing problems. ?

SEE ALSO :The changing fortunes at the Coast

“My county government will seek the support of the Assembly and the Senate to pass legislation that will compel the port of Mombasa to pay certain levies to the county government,” he said. ?

 He explained that the port levies would be used to improve and expand the road network and repair the dilapidated road infrastructure in the county. ?

The Governor said the move would reduce traffic jam in Mombasa thus enhancing service delivery. ?

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The defunct Mombasa Municipal Council whose functions have been taken up by the county government attempted to charge one dollar per tonne at the port but the Kenya Ports Authority KPA engaged in a protracted legal tussle that forestalled the plan. ?

Yesterday, the 30 Mombasa County Representatives cheered the Governor as he vowed to pursue the port levy.

SEE ALSO :Joho to face Senate again over Sh4b pending bills

The port of Mombasa is considered the gateway to East and Central Africa.

Deputy Governor Hazel Nyamoki Katana, Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar Sarai, Speaker Thedeous Rajuaye, County Secretary Muzne Abullatif, County Assembly Clerk Tubmun Otieno, and County Commissioner Nelson Marwa flanked Joho. ?He said the county could not improve trade and commerce without addressing improved infrastructure.

“There are 48 governments including the 47 county ones provided for in the Constitution and you should defend them and seek their adequate funding,” Mr Omar said. ?

Joho said Mombasa has a huge opportunity in establishing a free trade zone or a free port and?would convene a stakeholders’ meeting to discuss the establishment of the free port in Mombasa.

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Hassan Joho Mombasa Kenya Ports Authority