State set to clear Sh1.4 billion Dongo Kundu land compensation

A section of Dongo Kundu bypass under construction. The road connects Mombasa mainland and the South Coast. [Omondi Onyango, Standard] 

 The government has stepped up efforts to operationalise the Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Mombasa.

The State Department for Investment Promotion said it has resolved the land compensation row involving the project-affected persons (PAPs) during a multi-agency meeting to assess the preparedness of the SEZ to admit investors.

Principal Secretary Abubakar Hassan said the government was now ready to host investors on the 3,000-acre project located near Mombasa Port.

The meeting held at the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) in Mombasa brought together managing directors from KPA, the Export Processing Zone Authority (EZA), the National Land Commission (NLC) and officials from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

In October last year, President William Ruto halted the Sh1.4 billion compensation to allow an audit of the PAPs list and weed out non-residents from the list of 1,759 beneficiaries.

The compensation was marred with controversy and allegations of corruption and most residents were on the verge of being deprived of their rightful compensation by rogue officials working in cahoots with land grabbers.

Hassan said after assessment the project is ready to kick off, and all verified PAPs will receive compensation and be resettled. One investor has already set base at the SEZ and three more were admitted.

“There has been a small delay on the issue of the PAPs but the queries that were raised before have been resolved. In the next two months, that PAPs issue will be no more,” he said, encouraging investors to apply for slots in the SEZ.

The PS announced that President Ruto had directed that Dongo Kundu SEZ be operationalised quickly to facilitate investors' entry for the people of Kenya to get economic benefits.

The multi-billion Dongo Kundu bypass is 90 per cent complete. The dual carriageway project will play a pivotal role in the SEZ and will facilitate the transportation of products to industries.

It will connect three main transport corridors namely; the Mombasa-Nairobi highway, the Mombasa-Malindi highway, and the Mombasa-Lunga Lunga highway.

“The Dongo Kundu bypass bridge will be ready by May to connect to the hinterland. Construction of access roads to the port of Mombasa will commence in July,” he said.

Dongo Kundu SEZ will have a power incentive of Sh10 for peak hours and off-peak Sh7.5 akin to the Naivasha SEZ. 

KPA Managing Director Captain William Ruto said they have received numerous applications from investors willing to set up businesses at the SEZ and invited more investors.   

“The government directive is that the zone should be in operation, we are slightly behind but we have solved all issues that were impeding progress,” said Ruto.

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