The Northern Corridor Public and Private Partnerships (PPP) Committee is seeking firms in the region to collaborate in implementing the Roadside Stations (RSS) programme and develop standards conformity laboratories in the next two years.
New PPP committee chairperson Gilbert Lagat, who is the chief executive of East Africa Shippers Council, said the two projects will improve efficiency along the corridor.
“We learnt a lot from Covid-19 and have resolved to work on road stations and standard conformity to ensure verification of exports are done on time to reduce delays we experience whenever there is any pandemic and this can be achieved through PPP,” said Mr Lagat.
At the Third Northern Corridor PPP committee meeting held April 16, Lagat took over the mantle from Ngor Ayuel Kacgor from the South Sudan Private Sector. Alfred Byiringiro, Director General for Transport, Ministry of Infrastructure, Rwanda, was elected vice chair from the public sector.
Lagat said they are evaluating the cost of developing conformity testing laboratories before engaging the private sector to implement the same.
In the revised Northern Corridor Transport and Transit Agreement, PPP was identified as a key component for implementation of the $700 million RSS project, which aims to put up 67 roadside stations that will serve as rest points for truck drivers in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The move to speed up identifying RSS came as a result of a directive by the Northern Corridor Council of Ministers to provide adequate facilities for rest, medical care, maintenance, parking, and sanitation on the corridor routes, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Northern Corridor secretariat is working on gazetting fines for truck owners who park on undesignated areas after revenue authorities in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and Burundi complete the accreditation and geo-fencing processes of the facilities.
“The Northern Corridor Secretariat had developed the RSS Regional Guidelines to ensure common designs for RSS are kept along the Corridor as such, templates are available to be used by the members in developing respective national guidelines,” said Northern Corridor Transport and Transit Authority executive secretary Omae Nyarandi.
He added, “The secretariat has identified 141 ideal sites for the stations but the 67 were earmarked most urgent.”
In Kenya, a number of roadside stations have been identified and gazetted including Shell and Premium Energy Bonje, Maungu Lorry Park in Taita Taveta County, Sparkle Centre and Darussalam Hotel and parking facility both in Mtito Andei, Delamere Holding Shop Point in Naivasha, Shell at Salgaa and Uasin Gishu Lorry Park at Jua Kali.
Nyarandi said to ensure a sustainable and competitive corridor, states must embrace participation of both public and private sectors in implementing corridor projects and programmes.
“We appreciate various challenges faced by the private sector in the uptake of government projects. This calls for facilitation and support to ensure viability and attractiveness of such projects for investment by the private sector. Respective member states must create supportive and enabling business environment for the private sector,” said Nyarandi.