The Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has revealed that the plan to construct the Standard Gauge Railway line linking Naivasha port to Kisumu is still on course. The government official told Daily Nation that the time for completing the project has changed but the plan to extend the modern railway line to Malaba has not changed.
“On the future of the SGR and its status, Kenyans need to know that Phase 2A is 98 per cent complete and will be operationalized in September. Eventually, the SGR will reach Kisumu and finally Malaba, only timing has changed,” said James Macharia
At the moment, the transport ministry is upgrading the old meter gauge railway line linking Naivasha to Kisumu. The CS said that they have to refurbish the old railway line to be ready to transfer goods from Naivasha to the Kenya-Uganda border in Malaba in September.
Uganda has set aside $205 million (KSh20.7 billion) to repair the century-old meter gauge railway line that links Kampala to Malaba.
James Macharia said that the SGR is a joint project being undertaken by several East African countries. “SGR was conceptualized by heads of four countries; that is Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and South Sudan and they signed a document called SGR Protocol, which contains commitments that require every country to complete its bit. However, Kenya is going on with completing its part and at no point did China give ultimatums that this country needs to do this and that to get funding,” he said.
The Transport CS disclosed that he and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and the Transport minister in Uganda met the Chinese Minister of Commerce and Exim Bank representatives on Tuesday to finalize discussions on funding the SGR project.
James denied claims that the Africa Star Railway Operation Company running the SGR has Kenyan shareholders. The CS said that the firm is fully owned by China Road and Bridge Corporation.