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Why Sh1.7b oil jetty continues to sit idle

By Macharia Kamau | July 18th 2020

An engineer from South African firm SECO (left) hands over the Kisumu Oil Jetty to Kenya Pipeline Company officials in February 2018. [Phillip Orwa, Standard]

Kenya will have to wait awhile to use the Kisumu Oil Jetty as construction of a similar facility on the Ugandan side is taking longer than anticipated.

The Ugandan jetty is expected to be completed later this year but has already missed several deadlines.

The Sh1.7 billion Kisumu jetty owned by the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) was dubbed a game changer in the transportation of petroleum products to the region including Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It has been lying idle two-and-a-half years since it was completed.

KPC Managing Director Macharia Irungu on Thursday told the Senate that the Ugandan jetty is expected to be ready by November, after which transportation of petroleum products on Lake Victoria can start in earnest.

“The jetty was completed and ready for use but Uganda was not ready for utilisation,” he told the Senate Committee on Energy during a virtual meeting.

“We anticipate that if everything goes according to plan, they will finish by November and then we can start using the facility. Currently we are using a terminal owned by one of the oil marketers in Uganda.”

The Kisumu facility was expected to enable Kenya to compete more effectively with Tanzania in getting the neighbouring countries to route their petroleum products through its ports.

Tanzania has over time taken significant market share from Kenya owing to factors such as congestion at the Port of Mombasa.

The Senate committee took issue with Petroleum and Mining Cabinet Secretary John Munyes for failing to show up for the meeting.

Committee Chairman Ephraim Maina said the CS had failed to honour summons on several occasions. He said among the issues that the committee wanted the CS to discuss was the recent hike in fuel prices.

The ministry on July 10 issued a legal notice that increased the Petroleum Development Levy to Sh5.40 per litre from 40 cents.

“We appreciate he has a busy schedule but the constitution demands that he gives parliament due consideration because it is the representative of the people,” said Mr Maina. 

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