The government has beaten a hasty retreat and suspended a controversial order on transportation of cargo from Mombasa to Nairobi by use of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
The suspension came hours after the National Assembly directed transport and infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia to appear before the Transport Committee on Thursday to explain the directive issued last week, and which was set to take effect on Wednesday.
Legislators from the coastal region had expressed their objection to the move and were planning to petition Parliament to reject the government’s move.
According to the Law Makers this would leave hundreds of investors in the logistics business languishing in poverty as most of them risk losing clients.
The MPs also questioned the cost of transportation by the SGR that is yet to be published.
The directive by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) started this Wednesday that all imported cargo will be transported from the port to Nairobi through the Standard Guage Gailway has ruffled Coastal leaders feathers who now want to know what impact the move will have on the final cost of goods.
The legislators want the government to be compelled by the National Assembly to provide statistical data on the cost and usage of the Standard Gauge Railway that as of January 2019 was still operating at a loss despite having received the highest amount of government’s infrastructure investment.
“It is important to have a liberal market where business people can choose the mode of transport for their goods. This is a serious matter, you can not kill a whole transport industry,” National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale said.
“This is an important matter that must be held as such in the house businesses are dying along the way,” Kitui South Member of Parliament Rachael Kaki Nyamai said.
The matter that is now
gaining traction among the legislators has raised questions on who stands to
benefit the most.
The directive came to effect on Wednesday, August 7 with the speaker ordering that the cabinet secretary appear before the parliamentary transport committee to shed more light on the matter.