Truckers want the state to cancel the SGR freight order

Containers in a yard in Changamwe, Mombasa County. November 2020. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

The Kenyan Association of Road Transport Companies (KTA) has urged the government to find fair and impartial solutions in the industry to stimulate economic growth.

Speaking in Mombasa at its Annual General Meeting at the City Blue Hotel, KTA Chairman Mr. Newton Wang’oo noted that some underhand and unfair practices are not sustaining important government efficiency projects.

Citing the operationalization of the standard gauge railway (SGR) and the meter-gauge railway, Wang’oo said it was wrong of the government to force importers and traders to use SGR in the transportation of goods.

“The government should not use illegal tactics that violate a free market model and force importers to use SGR. It is unconstitutional and our courts decided that, ”he said.

He added that KTA insists on freedom of choice when the importer or dealer has the right to choose the most economical means of transport and allow both SGR and MGR to compete fairly without subsidies or devious government policies that are unconstitutional.

“Examples of these subsidies are the Railway Development Levy, which has been levied on all imports to Kenya since 2013. To date, the government has yet to submit a proper statement of where the billions raised from the RDL will be used. We want to know whether these will actually flow into the state treasury, ”Newton added.

He added that it was a shock to some of their members who won tenders to transport fertilizers out of the port of Mombasa when they were informed after assembling their trucks in certain locations that they could not do so, since instructions had been given, the fertilizer freight went to Nairobi instead.

He said KTA required an independent investigation into the contractual arrangement between the private Nairobi facility and the government and whether proper public procurement measures were followed to get the facility off the hook.

Mvita MP, Abdulswamad Nassir, who is also the chairman of the Public Investment Committee, and his Likoni counterpart Mishi Mboko said they will not tire of fighting for the rights of transport companies in Parliament once it resumes operations .

“I watch the governor’s seat of Mombasa and don’t want to be elected governor of a haunted town. While we support mechanisms and initiatives to promote trade and logistics, there should be fair trade practices that ensure that all actors benefit, ”said Nassir.

He said an official report from the Kenyan Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that 27 percent of Mombasa County’s total gross production came from transportation and logistics, well above that of other economic sectors such as hospitality and tourism, real estate and housing, and manufacturing contributes to the growth in prosperity Region at.

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