SGR, Mombasa Economy & Ignorance

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Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:09 am

SGR, Mombasa Economy & Ignorance

Post by dovu » Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:39 am

“Parliament has summoned Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia over a directive that forces importers to use the standard gauge railway (SGR) for goods coming to Nairobi and beyond from the Mombasa port.

“Last Friday, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) issued a joint public notice to importers requiring them to move their containers from Mombasa to Nairobi Inland Container Deport (ICD) through the SGR.

“On Tuesday, Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir said the order by the KRA and the KPA will effectively kill container freight stations along the Mombasa-Nairobi highway, cripple transporters and force closure of warehouses, leading to massive job losses.

“Mr Nassir was supported by Leader of Majority Aden Duale and his Minority counterpart, John Mbadi, who demanded Mr Macharia and the KRA commissioner-general, James Mburu, be summoned.” ... index.html

The level of IGNORANCE in Kenya is too high. KBC should immediately start a program called “Eliminating Ignorance in Kenya”, where they will counter these kind of stupid arguments with facts.

Some MPs are complaining that Mombasa economy will die if SGR is used to transport goods directly to Nairobi (instead of trucks/lorries). What will they say when the SGR reaches Kampala, and all Uganda-bound goods will be loaded onto the SGR in Mombasa and ferried direct to Kampala?

Did you know that there are many Kenyans who believe that SGR will kill the trucking industry? Yet, in countries with plenty of railways they also happen to have plenty of trucks? Therefore, more railway leads to more trucks, not the other way round. This is a fact.

Anyone interested in my argument above can easily perform an online research to confirm or disprove my assertion about the direct relationship between railway length & number of trucks in a country (take country A, find the railway length, and number of trucks/lorries in that country. Repeat for other countries).

What surprises me is that there are very many well travelled Kenyans who know about these facts I am quoting here. So, where does the erroneous beliefs come from? Its quite amazing.

I think these beliefs are the product of tunnel vision. For instance, trucking businessmen know about the Mombasa-Kampala route. Some don’t realise that the northern region all the way to Ethiopia is open for business.

Furthermore, after the SGR unloads, the goods will still need trucks to take them to their final destination.

Do you know that many people believed there would be massive joblessness due to computers? Has that happened?

The argument that SGR will “kill container freight stations” & “force closure of warehouses”, is similar to the argument that the government should not allow combine harvesters to harvest wheat & rice, since many people can be employed to do the harvesting manually.

An argument can be true and retrogressive at the same time.

The priority of the government/importers is to ensure imported goods reach customers as quickly as possible and as cheaply as possible. Businesses should be aligned to fit into the customers’ needs, not the reverse i.e. customers to align their cargo to fit the transport businesses’ needs.

Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:09 am

SGR, Mombasa Economy & Ignorance

Post by dovu » Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:21 pm

More than 20 activists and truckers were arrested during the anti-SGR directive demos…The activists included those from the Muslims for Human Rights and Fast Action Business Community under the Okoa Mombasa Coalition.” ... sgr-cargo/
Police have set free demonstrators who were arrested during a protest against the monopoly use of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). The activists and the transporters took to the streets to push the government to effect an order it had suspended on the use of SGR as the only means of transport of cargo from Mombasa to Nairobi.” ... index.html
Mombasa traders on Monday staged a demonstration against the government over a decision to transport all containers from Kilindini harbor to Nairobi Inland Container Deport.

The demonstrators carrying placards castigating Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Revenue Authority officials and a minister walked over 10 kilometres as they sang songs against the government.” ... o-business
Government must not relent in pushing for goods from the Mombasa port to be ferried upcountry via SGR. The big picture is that the SGR is meant to eventually link Indian ocean port to Atlantic Ocean port, greatly improving economies of Kenya and neighbouring countries.

Selfish interests by “Mombasa businessmen” must not be allowed to thwart this plan. Actually, the reality is that the major opponents of the directive to use SGR are the cartels that have been operating at the Mombasa port for generations.

These cartels have engaged in corruption at the port for so long that they have come to believe it is their birth-right to “manage” business at the port.

If they have been involved in genuine businesses at the port, then they would not have any problem operating from Nairobi, Naivasha, Kisumu or elsewhere.

SGR is very good for Kenya and the region, and those who genuinely believe it has taken over their business can always invest in other businesses.

Remember the Simu ya Jamii businesses all over Kenya? Where are they now? Yet these businesses employed thousands of people. Some tunnel-visioned Simu ya Jamii investors went as far as destroying any public phone booths near their premises “to boost business”.

Some rogue Simu ya Jamii owners went as far as cutting/stealing telephone wires, believing that would guarantee them good business for ever. They were reasoning like the current opponents of SGR in Mombasa.

Even after sabotaging the competition, almost all Simu ya Jamii businesses closed (because a time came when almost everyone could afford a phone+credit). Some diversified to Mpesa, selling phone accessories etc.

People protesting about SGR are trying to fight the wind. What they need to do is to be flexible in their business operations. For those fighting the SGR because it is ruining their corruption cartels, they should be ashamed of themselves - corruption is a very serious crime.

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