Sondu-Miriu Hydroepower Project
Question No. 151-71.
JUNE 15, 2001.
The SONDU MIRIU HYDROPOWER PLANT PROJECT
IN THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA.
Mr. Koizumi, Junichi, the Prime Minister of Japan.
Mr. Watanuki, Tamisuke, the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Initial Sender of the Question:
Mr. Sutou, Nobuhiko, the House of Representative.
The official document with regard to the ODA of up to 668 million yen to the Sondu Miriu Hydropwer Project was concluded in June 1988 with the Government of Kenya following through surveys and statistics. After the conclusion of this contract of October, the Japan Koei Co. ordered a survey and a plan, and 666 million yen was planned to be forwarded to Kenya.
For a part of the public engineering works and consulting services within the Phase I of the Project, an ODA up to 6.933 billion yen was concluded on the official document. After this contract was bound in March, Kounoike Group Co, Videkke, and Murray & Robers received orders as to the civil engineering, and a sum of 4.425 billion yen was allocated to be aided to this project. Moreover, the ODA to the consulting service portion, for which Japan Koei Corp. accepted the order, was planned to be 1.876 billion-yen. Both the construction and the consulting service are still ongoing.
As to the additional ODA for the civil engineering construction in the Phase II of the Project (the Discharge Cannel, the Power Plant, and facilities such as a transformer substation) it is still examined without reaching to a conclusion of a contract, even though Kenya has been informed on this matter.
Kenya is willing to go forward with the Phase II of the Project, now that the construction is ongoing and a smooth proceeding of the further construction needs be ensured. Moreover, Kenya points out that because the ODA for the Phase II had been previously informed by Japan in September 1999, it commenced with bidding on its own judgment and responsibility in January 2000, with a belief that the ODA project had a good deal of prospective feasibility. Orders were tendered to the corporations in April 2000, and an application was submitted to the World Corroborative Bank in June 2000. The Bank has informed Kenya that it will have to wait for the conclusion of the ODA for the Phase II in order for the Bank to be able to decide its position whether to agree with the assessment of the tender.
The ODA is a form of aids with a precondition that the borrower will repay. Whether to forward an ODA needs to be determined in consideration with economic situation of the borrower country including its ability to repay. In general, to predict a countryfs repayment ability, movements of micro economy, trades of the borrower country, the world economy, and various indefinite factors should be analyzed. This is same when Kenyafs repayment ability is to be analyzed, and we should continue to examine these factors. In determining whether or not to proceed with our ODA to the Phase II of the Project, we are particularly considering the facts that Kenya has agreed to exercise a measure to decrease poverty in attempt to stabilize its economy with corroboration of the International Currency Fund, the creditor countries that participated in the conference held in Paris in November 2000 agreed on a postponement of repayment by Kenya provided that the debt will not be cut down, and that Kenya has been showing its policy not to seek cut down of its debts.
In January 2001, a meeting was held among Kenya National Power Company, traders concerned, local residents, and NGOs that had pointed out problems with regard to this Project. Topics such as continuation of this Project, request for the early supply of the ODA for the Phase II, necessity of other meeting opportunities were debated.
A Technical Committee was set up by the organs and traders concerned, local residents, NGOs, and officials to discuss on various operational matters in search of solutions.
Upon completion of the power plant, when water of the Sondu River is to be diverted, especially during the dry season, maintenance of the necessary flow of water is required to avoid reducing the flow of the River, which may give a negative impact on biodiversity. The Committee is examining whether the flow of water should be adjusted whenever necessary. Improvement of the water supply project and discretion in conducting the power plant when the flow of water is low in the dry season are the proposals to be examined. The average water flow in the Sondu River is 41.59 m3/second, and to generate power, a flow of 40 m3/second is necessary. However, this is the necessary flow at the maximum operation of the plant, and operation should be controlled depend on the situation of the River in order to maintain the necessary water flow, including the dry season.
Thus, when a problem arises by the decreased water flow due to the diversion of the water, the organs concerned will address the issue, if necessary, after the examination by the Technical Committee. For example, in the middle of June 2001, a report is planned to be handed to us by the Technical Committee on environmental and social problems caused by this project. We are willing to examine the report, pay attention to the situation of the project area, and request Kenya to continue to correspond to the situation appropriately.
Moreover, it is well understood that water of the area in where the Project may affect its flow is not used for irrigation purposes.
Assessment of the Impacts on the Environment that had been issued in 1999 was made public by the organs concerned. Moreover, the organs concerned have explained about this project in detail to the local residents. They have already explained to the residents about diversion of water of the Sondu River to the power plant and change of the flow of water by diverting water back to the River through the Discharge Cannel. These kinds of opportunity to talk with and explain to the resident will be enjoyed in future. We are willing to look closely at the local situation and to request the Government of Kenya to correspond to any change in situation appropriately.
There are some NGOs that express doubts in the proceedings of the hearing. It is not clear in what degree those NGOs represent the residentsf concerns. However, a resolution on the continuation of this Project based on the discussion in the hearing was produced, read out by the chairperson, and was adopted after the unanimous vote for the continuation of the Project.
With regard to the record of the discussion in the hearing, the official record should be produced and publicized by Kenya, although a nonofficial record seems to have been produced by Japanese participants. The Japanese Governmentfs positions is to present upon request the documents and electrical records and the outline of the discussion made by the Japanese participants on their responsibility, the outline made by Kenya, the resolution produced by the Kenyan chairperson, and the video tape of the hearing.
The Technical Committee was established according to the resolution of a Committee hearing, and is composed of the organs concerned, the traders concerned local residents, and NGOs. The Committee is to address substantial issues with regard to the operation of this project. The Committee is reexamining its construction and has been adding constituent members upon necessity. We are not clear about the kinds of NGOs who have been allied for their cause. Nor are we sure about the degree in which these NGOs represent the residentsf concerns. However, the Committee will examine and judge these matters.
Based on our recognition that the Committee serves as an important place of discussion to carry out this project smoothly, we are requesting the Government of Kenya to make this Committee to be of the most appropriate form to deal with the operational problems of this project, reflecting opinions of the local residents and NGOs. We have also pointed out that the system of the Committee should be arranged to carry out the improvement plans discussed in the Committee correctly.
Moreover, the current chairperson of the Technical Committee was elected to out of the main organ concerned in the first conference of the Technical Committee. It is not true that he has carried out the project prioritizing constantly and solely the benefits of the traders of this project. As to the graft and the violation of human rights seen at the Phase I of this project, we are urging the Government of Kenya to proceed with a fact-finding investigation. At the same time, the Technical Committee is investigating the facts of the graft committed, and judicial proceedings will clarify the fact pattern of the human right violation.
At the site examination run by the Socio-Environmental Examination Committee of the International Corroboration Bank, a hearing of opinions of the local residents, NGOs, and constituent members of the Technical Committee was realized in sprite of the limited time frame. The residents whom the Examination Committee selected randomly out of the compensation list and those whom NGOs assigned added up to ten people, and the Examination Committee visited these ten people in order to collect their opinions. The Technical Committee is currently examining the increase of employment opportunities, and the Government of Japan has requested the Government of Kenya to take an appropriate measure against the increase of employment at the project area.
Increase of the numbers of stores and restaurants has been noted even though the exact number of them are not secured by the Examination Committee. According to the survey based on the social and environmental monitoring run by the organs concerned, a half of the residents who had received compensation for their land started managing lodgings and stores with the money received. Another monitoring is currently being carried out on the standard of living of the relocated residents who were affected by the project. In case problems arise, the Technical Committee will discuss the matters toward a solution; however, we have also requested the Government of Kenya to correspond to such problems appropriately.
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