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Uganda, Kenya Seeks for Money to Railway Projects

Uganda’s Finance minister Matia Kasaija and his Kenyan counterpart are yet to get confirmation of the specific dates for further negotiations and possible financial closure from China’s ministry of Commerce which supervises EXIM Bank, the prospective financier of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), Daily Monitor has learnt.

04 March 2017 Saturday, 01:00

Uganda’s Finance minister Matia Kasaija and his Kenyan counterpart are yet to get confirmation of the specific dates for further negotiations and possible financial closure from China’s ministry of Commerce which supervises EXIM Bank, the prospective financier of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), Daily Monitor has learnt.

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Technocrats from ministries of Finance and Works as well as the SGR project led by Mr Kasaija had been scheduled to travel earlier-on for the meeting on February 27 (yesterday), but the arrangement suffered setbacks. The Ugandan team was supposed to travel with the Kenyan delegation to Beijing, China.

Mr Kasaija, yesterday, said they will travel any time but confirmed that they are yet to get the requisite clearances.

[quote font_size=”16″ arrow=”yes”]”It is true we did not travel; first, because we have not yet got confirmation from China’s ministry of Commerce about the date of meetings, and secondly we are waiting for clearance from their ministry of Foreign Affairs which did not come through–because as you might know this is a government-to-government meeting.”[/quote]

The meeting is expected to reach a final understanding regarding the financing of the multi-billion dollar railway from Nairobi to Malaba on the Kenya side, and Malaba to Kampala on the Uganda side. The stretch from Mombasa to Nairobi is complete and is expected to be commissioned this June.

If the discussions are fruitful, Uganda expects an advance of $2.8b or 85 per cent financing for construction of the Malaba-Kampala stretch (273km). Each kilometre will cost $8.4m.

The plan is that after the Malaba-Kampala stretch, Uganda will embark on the western route from Kampala to Ntungamo near the border with Rwanda and then northern route from Tororo to Packwach near the South Sudan border. The entire SGR project in Uganda is expected to cost $12.8b, making it the most expensive infrastructure project in Uganda’s history. On the Kenyan side, the line (120km) running from Nairobi to Naivasha is expected to cost$1.7b , the line (266km) from Naivasha to Kisumu port cost $3.6b  while the 107km line connecting to Malaba will cost $1.7b .

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