New contractor picked to finish construction of fish landing site at Liwatoni

Principal Secretary State Department for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Blue Economy, Francis Owino [centre], his Public works counterpart, Solomon Kitungu [right] and Chairman of Kenya Fishing Industries Cooperation, John Msafari [left] address the press after handing over Tuna Fish processing hub to a new contractor, Ceer Processing Limited at Liwatoni in Mombasa. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

The government has announced the start of works to put up a modern fishing complex at Liwatoni in Mombasa County following the unveiling of a new contractor.

Speaking yesterday, Fisheries, Aquaculture and Blue Economy Principal Secretary Francis Owino said that CEER Contractor has been chosen from among seven fresh bidders after an earlier tender was cancelled.

“The new contractor we are unveiling today has six months to complete and hand over this presidential legacy project, which will be a major boost to coastal fisheries,” said Dr Owino.

The PS, who was flanked by his Public Works colleague Solomon Kitunguu, attributed the delay to conclude the project to the cancellation of the first contract, and a “long and tedious” procurement procedure.

“The new contractor who will be on site to start work by Monday has made an undertaking to deliver the project as per the stipulated time. He is even considering working double shifts to beat the deadline further,” Dr Owino said.

The PS said the new contractor had indicated that the facility will be completed at a cost of Sh1.4 billion.

Once completed, fishing vessels operating in Kenya’s territorial waters will be required to land their catch at the facility.

The project that was allocated Sh1.8 billion in the 2021/2022 financial year has been dogged by corruption allegations. Work stalled for months as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) investigated procurement flaws in the awarding of the contract.

President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the project in November 2018 to harness Kenya’s potential in the blue economy. The project is intended to increase fish production from the current 146,687 metric tonnes (MT) to more than 350,000MT in the next five years.

The Liwatoni fisheries complex and jetty was gazetted as the first fishing port in the country to ensure all vessels have a place to store their fish.

Daniels Outlets Ltd was awarded a tender to build the facility, but the government has accused it of violating the conditions of the contract, leading to its termination.

Phase one of the project involved renovating office space and removing asbestos sheets that were banned in 2013 by the National Environment Management Authority.

In phase two, the State is building another cold room to increase storage capacity. The jetty will also be extended to create more space for fishing vessels. Since it started operations, more than 35 large and small fishing vessels have docked and offloaded 2,330.69 MT of fish, generating Sh10 million in revenue.

Owino said that once completed, the facility, which will be managed by the Kenya Fishing Industry Corporation, will employ close to 800 people. It will produce 50 metric tonnes of frozen and fresh fish per day, and 25 metric tonnes of cooked tuna.