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Shahbal weighs in, wants Coast economy salvaged

[Mombasa Businessman and politician Suleiman Shahbal. Photo/courtesy].

Mombasa businessman Suleiman Shahbal has called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to constitute an inter-ministerial committee to oversee Coast economy salvation.

Shahbal said the committee should meet Coast leaders in a bid to chat how Mombasa economy can be rescued from the verge of collapsing.

In a statement to newsrooms on Thursday, Shahbal said the 100 percent Standard Gauge Railway-SGR cargo haulage has hurt the Coast economy, calling for President Uhuru’s intervention in revamping the Coast economic status.

According to Shahbal, discussions among Coast leaders are ongoing in a bid to secure the region’s economy.

“The inter-ministerial committee if constituted will hold various meetings with Coast leaders whom we are already in talks to ensure our people get back what belongs to them,” disclosed Shahbal.

Dongo kundu

The politician appealed to the government to fast track Dongo Kundu special economic zone to directly benefit Coastal people.

“Though Nyali MP Mohamed Ali’s impeachment motion against the Transport CS James Macharia is noble, with the numbers in National assembly it may not materialise. We should initiate other alternatives,” said Mr. Shahbal.

He urged Coast leaders to unite to secure the dwindling coast resources.

“This is about the entire Coast region, not Mombasa, as Coast leaders we should work towards uplifting the lives of our people,” said the investor.

“While we appreciate the importance of supporting the SGR which is a national project, we should not support one project at the cost of damaging an entire region and its people,” noted Shahbal.

Heated debate

His remarks comes amid heated debate among transport stakeholders, human rights activists and a section of Mombasa politicians on government directive that all cargo at the Mombasa port should be transported through the SGR to Naivasha dry port.

Transport CS James Macharia said the move is aimed at containing the spread of Coronavirus in the country and also the current border conflicts over testing drivers crossing border to Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Sudan, sentiments that the transporters have since rubbished.