Clearing agents and importers have raised concerns over a leadership vacuum at Kenya Ports Authority (KPA). This comes in the wake of the Kenya government failing to appoint a substantive managing director and three other board members including the chairman.
Clearing agents and importers said replacement of Rashid Salim, who has been an acting managing director since March last year, without a full board will likely affect the process of making key decisions at the port.
“The business community prefers working with a stable institution and some might opt to other ports such as that of Dar es Salaam,” said Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association chairman Roy Mwanthi.
The government is realigning its key parastatals — KPA, Kenya Pipeline Corporation, Kenya Railway Corporation — to comply with the agreement reached with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a three-year $2.4 billion financing package hence causing the delay in appointing new KPA MD.
In the package, the IMF team and the Kenyan authorities reached a staff-level agreement on a 38-month programme to help the next phase of the country’s Covid-19 response and a strong multi-year effort to stabilise and begin reducing debt levels relative to the GDP.
One of the main issues to be achieved is to reduce cost and increase efficiency in various government structures. Already, KPA, KRC and KPC have been merged under the Kenya Transport and Logistics Network.
In March this year, the Kenya Ferry Services was abolished and its staff transferred to operate under KPA department.
The ongoing changes are among the factors causing the delay in appointing a new KPA board chairperson and managing director.
But Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani has maintained that the delay in appointing new MD was the result of the ongoing restructuring management of Kenyan ports where three main ports in the country will be headed by each managing director to make them autonomous.
The appointment of John Mwangemi as acting KPA managing director has been challenged in court, however, he was cleared to continue heading the parastatal.