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PUBLISHED ON October 22nd, 2014

Sh10bn compensation for new railway land begins

Kenya Railway Corporation (KRC) will this week start disbursing part of Sh10 billion to landowners whose property was acquired to build the new Mombasa-Nairobi railway as governors demand new levies from the Chinese contractor.

The corporation’s CEO Athanas Maina said the first tranche of compensation cash will be released to land owners by Friday, putting to rest one of the sensitive aspects of the mega project.

The first lot of beneficiaries includes land owners from Mombasa, Taita Taveta, Kwale, Machakos, Makueni and Kajiado counties.

The cash for compensation is ready and due for release to landowners starting this week,” Mr Maina told the Business Daily on Tuesday at the sidelines of a joint caucus with county governors.

Apart from land acquisition cash, the State has pledged that at least Sh130 billion, or 40 per cent of the project’s contract price, will be spent directly in the local economy.

The county chiefs, however, want to work with KRC officials in hiring locals as labourers, sub-contractors or suppliers of various materials for construction of the standard gauge railway (SGR).

We are surprised that work is already going on yet the corporation has not engaged us to agree on pricing for raw materials and myriad environmental issues,” said Kilifi governor Amason Kingi.

The county officials also want to be allowed to levy taxes and cess on raw materials such as sand that the China Road and Bridge Construction Corporation requires in bulk for the SGR.

The counties also want 70 per cent of local labourers working on the SGR project to come from counties hosting the project with KRC being given a leeway to hire only 30 per cent from other counties.

The portion of jobs available to locals is a very sensitive issue. We feel 70 per cent is a safe bet,” said Kajiado governor David Nkedienye.

Source:: Business Daily

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