Kenya: Liwatoni 1.8 billion shillings fish landing project to be ready by October
Development of the 1.8 billion shillings Liwatoni fish landing site into a state-of-the-art fishing port is expected to be completed in three months.
Once completed, fishing vessels operating in Kenya’s territorial waters will be required to land their catch at the facility.
The project, allocated to 1.8 billion shillings in fiscal year 2021/2022, was previously marred by allegations of corruption, with ongoing investigations halting work.
But Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said the tender for the construction had been issued and work on the physical infrastructure had started.
“The construction of the fish landing site is underway, there have been some challenges that we have overcome,” he said.
“The tender opened on Thursday. There was a new tender to choose someone who will install the machines. But construction of the physical infrastructure is underway.”
The job has been stalled for months over corruption allegations. The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) investigated procurement flaws in the award of the 1.8 billion shillings contract.
“There were challenges earlier, but they were looked at. They received 1.8 billion shillings. They have already announced some of the projects underway,” said Silas Tiren (Moiben), chairman of the commission for agriculture from the National Assembly last month when he and other lawmakers visited the facility.
President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the project in November 2018 to harness Kenya’s potential in the blue economy. He intended to increase fish production from the current 146,687 metric tonnes (MT) to over 350,000 MT over the next five years.
It was later classified in the Official Gazette as Kenya’s premier fishing port to ensure all vessels have a place to store their fish.
The EACC has opened investigations and suspended all payments related to the project pending the outcome of the review, its CEO Twalib Mbarak said.
In a March 2021 letter to Principal Secretary of Fisheries and Blue Economy Francis Owino, Mr. Twalib said the EACC was investigating allegations of procurement irregularities in the award of the contract. contract.
“We therefore advise that any payment related to this contract be suspended pending investigation,” said the letter.
Daniels Outlets Ltd won the tender for the construction of the facility, but the government accused it of violating the terms of the contract, which led to its termination.
Dr Owino accused the contractor of bribery and fraudulent practices and ordered the company to immediately leave the site.
The first phase of the project consisted of renovating offices and removing the asbestos sheets that were banned in 2013 by the environmental watchdog Nema.
Since it began operating, more than 35 large and small fishing vessels have docked and landed 2,330.69 tonnes of fish, generating revenues of 10 million shillings.
Some 15 of the 18 licensed local commercial and semi-commercial vessels landed fish at the jetty – three shrimp trawlers, three longliners, three trap vessels and six purse seiners.
Longliners and purse seiners operate in Kenya’s exclusive economic zones, where they mainly target swordfish, billfish, tuna and related species. The trap vessels operate on the high seas off the north coast and target deepwater crabs.
The challenges affecting the activities at Liwatoni Pier include the lack of work equipment, cleaning services, safety and operational equipment such as fire extinguishers, the poor condition of the perimeter wall to enhance security and the ‘lack of a video surveillance system to improve security surveillance.
The first phase of the complex was completed in September last year, with the government planning to revive the inshore fishing industry.
In phase two, the State is building another cold room to increase the capacity of the jetty. The pier will be enlarged to create more space for ships.
“The new projects underway are the structure of the 500 MT cold room, the remodeling of the fresh and frozen products factory in the old fishmeal factory, the power plant, the reorganization of the electric cables in the complex. , the desalination plant with a capacity of 480 cubic meters per day and construction of a dike to protect the properties of the Liwatoni, ”Kenya Fishing Industries Corporation CEO Dr Mikah Nyaberi said in a previous interview.
The installation includes a cold room and a raised water tower with a capacity of 100,000 liters.
The blue economy sector is one of the emerging economic frontiers which is expected to contribute significantly to the economic growth and development of the country, as envisioned in Kenya Vision 2030.
The fishing port will provide a first-class fishing pier, an adequate cold store, a fish processing facility, a fishmeal factory and an auction center.
There will also be offices to accommodate fishing operators, traders and bunkering facilities, as well as spaces for boat repair and maintenance. This should attract local and international operators.
This story is part of a series of Nation.Africa reports on the state of the fishing industry in the coastal region. Read also :
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It’s a dog’s life for Kenyan fishermen as trawlers have a blast
Taita Taveta fishermen claim share of blue economy profits
Trawl fishing depletes stocks, spawns in Tana River
Why Kenya seeks to ban imports of Chinese fish