Kenya drops plan to import high-capacity buses from South Africa

Transport CS said preference will now be given to local firms

Transport CS James Macharia said the government will now consider Kenyan firms to supply buses for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) services.

“We are committed to engaging local manufacturing and assembling capacity in provision of these buses and pushing for policies that encourage private sector-led investments in the automotive and transport sectors," Mr Kamau said.

He maintained that Kenya had no intentions to import the buses from South Africa saying it would be an "impractical move."

The government is set to launch six BRT corridors in Nairobi in a move aimed at reducing traffic congestion in the capital.

Wrong move

The corridors are expected to hold up to 950 high capacity buses reducing travel time and cost by up to 70 per cent, according to the CS.

Last month, a Kenyan passenger bus body-builder faulted the government's decision to purchase the buses from South Africa yet Tanzania, which initially imported buses from China, sought Kenya's assistance in building the vehicles.

Labh Singh Harnam Singh (LSHS) managing director Daniel Maundu said the move was against President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda, especially the manufacturing pillar, where the government pledged to provide incentives to support local companies.

Even then, the BRT buses plan faces stiff opposition from matatu operators who vowed to frustrate the initiative saying they were not consulted.

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