Steve Oke Chapchap Market
May 14, 2019
Disclosed: Condition China Set To Fund SGR Expansion
African Union Envoy for Infrastructure Raila Odinga, on Monday, broke his silence over the stalled expansion of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) to Kisumu.
Speaking during a working tour of various projects in Kisumu, Raila sought to settle the disquiet over the expansion plans from Naivasha maintaining that it was not a lost cause.
“I was waiting for the opportune time to give a report on our trip to China and it has come with the launch of this project (Special Economic Zone – SEZ). Media has been awash with biased reports that we failed to secure the SGR loan, which is very negative, false and unfair,” he conveyed.
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Various publications reported that for the project to be greenlighted by the Chinese financer, Kenya had to prove its feasibility in line with China Export-Import Bank prerequisites for a loan.
“It is just a matter of time before we get the monumental infrastructure. We have not even done a feasibility study to give way for the roll-out of the project,” Raila was quoted.
The ODM leader elucidated that the government had embarked on various investments in excess of Ksh9 Billion, to woo the Chinese to fund the railway. He cited the SEZ, together with the refurbishment of the Kisumu Port and upgrade of the Kisumu International Airport to launch cargo haulage as some of the efforts they had undertaken to prove the extension was a viable venture.
Raila was accompanied by three cabinet secretaries; James Macharia (Transport), Peter Munya (Trade) and John Munyes (Petroleum) who echoed his sentiments assuring that the government was keen to ensure the project was completed.
“That the SGR will reach Kisumu is not in question, what we wanted to do is to ensure there is feasibility for the entire project as a prerequisite.
“We realised that it was going to be too costly reviving this line when SGR to Kisumu was also very active in the pipeline. We are reviving the Malaba line as an interim measure to help prove the profitability of the SGR line and also so that goods destined for Uganda, our strongest trade partner in the region are not stranded at Naivasha,” he was quoted.