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Business Daily : October 15th 2013
6 BUSINESS DAILY | Tuesday October 15, 2013 BY MUTHINI STEPHEN The Nyeri County government is set to lay off workers and put others on a four-year-contract. The county is currently conducting an audit to establish the actual number of staff on its payroll and streamline its operations. The audit, which ended on Friday last week, seeks to establish the work- ers’ qualifications. Nyeri County chief of staff Duncan Maina (pictured) said that they had in- herited about 4,500 workers from the national government with an annual wage bill of Sh2.3 billion. He added that the wage bill was more than 50 per cent of the total budget of Sh4.5 billion with the county revenue collection standing at only Sh500 mil- lion. The rest of the money comes from the national government. “This is clearly unsustainable. After the recurrent expenditures we are left with roughly only Sh1 billion for devel- opment. It is possible that we are going to retrench,” said Mr Maina. He said all employees will be on a four-year-contract including the civil servants whom the county official add- ed would have to choose between the new terms and retrenchment. Mr Maina said that the Treasury would pay county workers for six months after which the devolved gov- ernments would take over. “The national government has given us a payroll. We must do due diligence and confirm that the people working in the county government are those in the payroll,” he said. The audit is the second of its kind in Nyeri County after the Transition Au- thority conducted a similar one last month. Mr Maina, however, said that he was not privy to the findings of the authority’s audit. The official said that a team from the Public Service Commission had been contracted to carry out the exercise. He said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission had been sought to conduct the exercise but it was not possible because the polls team said it was busy. Mr Maina said that the survey had so far revealed cases of county work- ers whose qualifications did not match their jobs and others who were absent from their place of work. He added that the county would re- lease full details of the audit once the exercise is completed. “There are many people employed in jobs that they don’t qualify but we’ve not had a case of ghost workers so far,” he said. However, Mr Maina said the county will hold talks with the national govern- ment on the funding of the retrench- ment exercise. Last month, Nairobi county dis- closed a similar plan to retrench 6,000 of 11,000 employees, saying its work- force is bloated. Nye≥i County plans ≥et≥enchment, cont≥act te≥ms fo≥ wo≥ke≥s Wage bill Nyeri County expects to spend Sh2.3bn on salaries out of Sh4.5bn total budget. JOSEPH KANYI BY GITONGA MARETE The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) says it did not craft a deal for han- dling South Sudan cargo that last week drew sharp criticism from port stakeholders. The players accused KPA of bias after a clearing and forwarding company was given exclusive rights to handle the country’s goods, but the parastatal says Juba was responsible for the contract. “We did not contract the company as has been suggested. Our role was only to convey the message to stakeholders on what had already been agreed upon between the firm and the government of South Sudan,” said managing di- rector Gichiri Ndua. In a letter dated Sep- tember 27, 2013 Captain Twalib Khamis, manager in charge of operations, instructed shipping lines to direct all cargo to Com- pact Freight Station follow- ing the CFS’s partnership with Panda, which he said had been appointed by South Sudan. “This is to notify all shipping lines and clearing agents that South Sudan government has appointed Panda Clearing and Forwarding Company to handle all its cargo at the Mom- basa port,” said the letter. “ The company has partnered with Compact Freight Station (and) conse- quently with effect from October 15, all South Sudan cargo should be mani- fested for clearance at the CFS.” Two lobby groups—the Kenya In- ternational Freight and Warehousing Association (Kifwa) and CFS Associa- tion of Kenya—accused the authority of engaging in unfavourable business practices. “We wish to remind you that the existing laws in Kenya prohibit mo- nopolistic practices which effectively lock out other players in the indus- try,” said Kifwa national chairman Boaz Makomere on September 28 in a letter to KPA. The official, who also alleged that the speed at which Panda was con- tracted to do the job after being incorporated in July this year was questionable, added: “It is clear that the purported appointment of the sole clearing agent and container freight station is not only discriminatory but also illegal.” On October 2, Daniel Nzeki, chief executive of- ficer of the CFS association wrote to Mr Ndua, saying the deal was against the spirit of trade practices as espoused in the East Africa Commu- nity protocol. Quoting the EAC Protocol Article 33 on prohibited business practices, Mr Nzeki said the move was a delib- erate attempt to discriminate against some in dealing with a country that has already applied to be admitted to the EAC trade bloc. But Mr Ndua defended KPA of any wrongdoing saying that after receiv- ing the letter from the South Sudan government, it wrote to Kenya’s Trans- port and Infrastructure ministry and sought a clarification. “We were told it was true the agree- ment had been entered into after which we wrote to the stakeholders to con- vey the message. On the issue of the company’s incorporation, we could not question it since that does not concern us,” he told the Business Daily. A meeting called by the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) yester- day morning to try and settle the dis- pute was reportedly moved to 3pm to allow ministry officials to fly in from Nairobi. Although the CFS Association had threatened to go to court over the mat- ter, Mr Nzeki said they would wait for results of the meeting. The scramble for South Sudan cargo among the clearing and forwarding fraternity comes at a time when im- ports passing through Mombasa port destined to the newest African state have grown dramatically. firstname.lastname@example.org ECONOMY & POLITICS NEWS I REVIEWS I ANALYSIS KPA denies hand in Juba ca≥go deal CONTRACT Authority says it has no control over contract awarded firm to handle S Sudan goods Cargo at the port of Mombasa. The Kenya Ports Authority says it did not craft a controversial contract for handling South Sudan cargo. FILE We wish to ≥emind you that the existing laws p≥ohibit monopolistic p≥actices BOAZ MAKOMERE, KIFWA CHAIRMAN Official vows to ≥id Kebs of co≥≥upt employees BY NEVILLE OTUKI A principal secretary has accused Kenya Bureau of Standards offi- cials of being a hindrance to qual- ity service delivery and vowed to “weed out a few elements.” Industrialisation principal sec- retary Wilson Songa said yester- day that his ministry would crack down on non-performing offi- cials at Kebs in a move aimed at revamping the controversy-ridden parastatal. “We will make sure that Kebs delivers,” Dr Songa said dur- ing World Standards Day celebra- tions held at Kebs headquarters in Nairobi. “Kebs is doing relatively good work, but a few elements keep holding it back. Those few will be weeded out.” His remarks came in the back- drop of the rising number fake products finding way into Kenya, estimated to cost the economy Sh30 billion per year in lost rev- enue. The agency has been plagued by transparency concerns over the awarding of tender for construc- tion of Kebs office and laboratory in Mombasa. The government now says it will be on the look out to en- sure the agency performs its roles of quality management, metrology and testing. Kebs in May received a Sh63 million testing equipment, raising hopes of better quality assurance measures and improved capacity to fight sub-standard products in the country.
October 14th 2013
January 22nd 2014