KENYA COMMITS MAJOR BUDGET ALLOCATION TO AIRPORT IMPROVEMENTS
The government of President Uhuru Kenyatta has proposed to allocate 125 billion Kenya Shillings to the improvements of airports and road infrastructure as initial figures of the 2013/14 budget have become available.
While the nominated cabinet secretaries, formerly known as ministers, are still awaiting confirmation from the parliamentary vetting committee, the incumbent principal secretary, formerly known as permanent secretary, in the National Treasury has been pushing ahead with the budget preparations so as to meet the deadlines set by law when the documents have to be handed over to the national assembly.
Airport development is seen as a crucial component in generating the double digit economic growth outlined in the government’s election agenda, as it will benefit both tourism as well as trade.
Kenya’s main airport, Jomo Kenyatta International – incidentally opened by and named after President Uhuru Kenyatta’s late father, is bursting at the seams and completion of the new terminal four is of the highest priority for the aviation sector, before the turning the fullest attention to Project Greenfield which foresees the construction of a second runway and building a new mega terminal, supplementing existing terminals one to three, and four when completed.
‘The flow of air cargo in and out of Kenya is very important. While bulk exports of tea and coffee are mostly shipped by sea, flowers, fresh vegetables and fruits and meat products are shipped by air. There will be renewed focus on export of our products and airports, not just JKIA are very important to facilitate that. Kenya Airways is building up cargo capacity towards that end but the infrastructure is just as important. We need more cold storage and general cargo capacity, more parking for aircraft to load and off load. Kisumu’s expansion was opened last year but there is still a lot of work to be done at Nairobi, Mombasa and Malindi airports’ said a regular aviation source from Nairobi.
Meanwhile have tourism sources also praised the element of road, highway and bridge construction in the budget and expressed their hopes that the Southern bypass of Nairobi can be completed to decongest Nairobi traffic which has become a daily nightmare for commuters. Others spoke of the urgency to construct the new causeway and road from the Mombasa airport to the South Coast, improve access to Mombasa from the Nairobi highway as well as build a second bridge from the city of Mombasa to the Northern mainland. Access roads to the national parks too were mentioned with special mention of the section between Narok and the Masai Mara, one of Kenya’s most visited game reserves.
In addition Kenya is planning some major new railway and highway links connecting the country to Ethiopia and South Sudan as reported here on several occasions in the past, setting the stage for the construction sector to create jobs and play a part in bringing about economic growth. Exciting but also challenging times ahead for Kenya, so watch this space for regular updates from Eastern Africa.