Committee  to question treasury over Lamu’s dilapidated jetties

Photo of a section of the Lamu customs jetty closed off in March after it collapsed. The government is yet to commence rehabilitation of the Lamu jetties PHOTO: NATASHA NEMA.

Lamu,KENYA:The national treasury is on the spot for failing to disburse funds for the rehabilitation of key jetties in Lamu County that are currently in their worst state.

Speaking shortly after a tour of all the jetties in Lamu on earlier in the week,the Parliamentary Select Committee on Transport and Infrastructure has put treasury on the spot for failing to disburse Sh.600 Million meant for the rehabilitation of the jetties.

The funds had been awarded back in 2016.

In July,the national treasury had indicated that Sh.130 Million had been released upfront to oversee commencement of the renovation of four of the jetties but the work is yet to kick off since.

The committee chairperson who is also Pokot South MP David Pkosing said the committee was concerned as to why treasury was taking too long to release the funds yet all logistics had been completed.

Pkosing placed part of the blame at the door of the Public Works Ministry for failing to make the required follow ups and ensure the jetties are well maintained to ensure safety for users.

“Treasury must tell us what’s keeping them from releasing the funds so that these jetties can be rebabilitated.People don’t understand how dangerous the state of these jetties is.We shouldn’t wait until it turns into a disaster and lives are lost for us to act.People are risking their lives daily having to use the jetties in their current condition and treasury must understand that’s this a matter of urgency,”said Pkosing.

He said the committee would summon the Public Works PS to shed light on why the funds haven’t been disbursed since 2016 yet the situation continues to get worse by day.

The legislator, accompanied by other committee members including Sotik MP Dominic Koskei, Buuri MP Rindikiri Mugambi as well as Kitutu Masaba MP Shadrack Mose, lamented that the bad state of the jetties is posing danger to travelers and especially the disabled individuals.

Committee member who is also Sotik MP Dominic Koskei,an engineer by profession said the rehabilitation of the jetties was likely to draw in more money due to the fact that they have been left to get worse to an extent where they have crumbled.

“The situation would have been different if they would have been maintained periodically.It would have been way lower in terms of costs.But at this stage,the works will need more than the Sh.600 Million they had initially planned to spend,”said Koskei.

Lamu East MP Athman Shariff said the state of the jetties had adversely driven up infrastructural challenges which he said would likely affected future investment interests in Lamu.

“Recently when the Zarara Oil and Gas company which is drilling gas in Pate island in my constituency wanted to transport their drilling equipment, it was a huge nightmare and an embarrassment for Lamu.They had to construct their own landing site since the Mtangawanda jetty which is nearest,is too dilapidated.The government needs to look into such,”said Shariff.

Speaking separately, Structural Engineer in the State Department of Public Works Hillary Nyaanga said the works would kick off once funds are released.