Nema calls for public views on Lamu Port

Presidents Salva Kiir of South Sudan and Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, and Ethiopian premier Meles Zenawi at the inauguration of the Lamu port project. The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) has invited the public and concerned groups to comment on the Sh1.5 trillion project.

What you need to know:

  • It is also proposed for preparation and implementation of  a resettlement Action Plan, livelihood restoration and compensation to thousands of people who will relocate out of their farmlands to be used to construct the project.

The proposed Lamu Port inched closer to reality on Tuesday when the national environment body invited the public and concerned groups to comment on the Sh1.5 trillion project.

In a paid-up advertisement in Tuesday’s dailies, the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) called for public views on the project. Nema said it has received the environmental impact assessment (EIA) study report on the multibillion shillings proposed port and other related projects in Manda Bay, Lamu County.

“The proponent (Ministry of Transport) intends to construct the first three berths and associated infrastructure, including drenching, reclamation and construction of an access road in Manda Bay, Lamu County,” said Nema in the notice. This is the final approval stage to the actual commencement of the project.

Environmentalists have been at loggerheads with the government over the impact of the project on the rich marine ecosystem, particularly the future of the fishing industry once the port begins operation.

The EIA report study outlined environmental impacts and proposed mitigation measures covering ten key areas including effluent discharge, ecological and biological loss and dust and other airborne/fugitive emissions.

The concerns of the Lamu fishing community were also taken into account in the EIA report.

Construction of fishing ports, provision of modern fishing gears and cold storage facilities as well as training on fishing techniques and aquaculture were proposed to mitigate against constraints on fisheries.

The concerns of the residents on the project’s effects on their Swahili culture, which places the archipelago on the international map, have also been considered.

The gazette notice indicate that social-cultural impacts will be mitigated through establishment of a maritime museum and archeological impact assessments prior to development of the port project among other measures.

It is also proposed for preparation and implementation of  a resettlement Action Plan, livelihood restoration and compensation to thousands of people who will relocate out of their farmlands to be used to construct the project.

The Kenya Ports Authority General Manager in charge of engineering services Mr Joseph Atonga announced during a visit to the new port area at Hindi Magogoni that tendering for the construction work has already been completed and a contractor identified to start building the port which is expected to cost nearly Sh2 trillion.

Mr Atonga who was speaking to reporters in Lamu also disclosed that the contractor is expected to take over the site of the new port later this month.

“We expect the contractor to be on site during the ground breaking ceremony which will be conducted early next month”, said the GM who was speaking after a team of KPA engineers to port site.

The Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) is a component of the Vision 2030 economic blue print which will comprise a railway line to connect Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan, a pipeline to pump oil to South Sudan, a refinery, airports, resory cities and super highways.

Already the government has set aside Sh. 2 billion in the 2012/2013 financial year to kick-start the new port project which is expected to cost Sh 2 trillion after completion.

The project is also expected to open up northern Kenya, which for years has suffered marginalization and underdevelopment.

Local leaders have hailed the LAPSSET project as a god send flagship which will raIse standards of living.

Eng. Atonga said the project will create thousands of jobs for locals and other Kenyans besides opening up the region to massive investment.

“This port, once fully operational will have 38 berths and it will complement Mombasa port,” said the engineer.

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