Murkomen moots Greenfield Terminal revival as he meets Chinese envoy

The Kenya Kwanza government’s plan to revive the construction of the second terminal at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) is starting to take form after Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen met the Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Zhou Pingjian on Wednesday to discuss areas of collaboration.

Mr Murkomen posted a statement declaring that the Kenya will maintain close ties with China as it works to provide modern infrastructure and extend the cooperation to other areas of common interest for the two countries.

“I expressed our government’s readiness to work closely with the Chinese Government in the modernisation and digitisation of our transport sector and explore other areas of collaboration that will be beneficial to the people of Kenya,” read the CS’s statement in part.

The two leaders also discussed collaboration in aviation, including expansion of airports starting with the JKIA.

When Mr Murkomen appeared before the House Committee on appointments for vetting in October, he pledged to revisit the issue of the Greenfield terminus at the JKIA, whose construction was aborted by the President Uhuru Kenyatta’s regime in 2016, despite an initial payment to contractors and a groundbreaking ceremony.

 “If approved, my priority will be to relook at the Greenfield terminal tender which was cancelled in 2016 after the contractor had been paid Kes4.2 billion,” Mr Murkomen said.

Although the project was priced at Kes56 billion in 2016, the CS projected building costs would swell to accommodate a new runway.

“It was to cost Kes56 billion but it may go up because we need to get new contractors to set up the Green Field terminal. We need to build a second runway.”

Reports indicated the Greenfield Terminal tender was reportedly cancelled following Kenya’s inability to raise 15 percent of the project cost, which was a precondition to unlocking the remaining 85 percent financing from a consortium of local and foreign banks.

According to the agreement, the Kenya Airports Authority was to facilitate 15 percent of the required cost or roughly Kes8.4 billion, while the balance of Kes48 billion was to be provided by lenders China Exim Bank, Africa Development Bank (AfDB), American Consortium AAE and Standard Bank Group.

While cancelling the tender, the government indicated that a survey has established that the Greenfield Terminal was unlikely to provide value for money.

“We have stopped the Greenfield project because it has no value for money. We would rather spend that cash building a second runway as opposed to a new facility,” former Transport CS James Macharia said was quoted in an interview.

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