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Rotich to negotiate for more SGR funds on trip to China

Treasury secretary Henry Rotich is set to fly to China later this month to negotiate for more loans to build the Naivasha-Kisumu-Malaba Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line.

The Kenyan and Ugandan governments on Thursday agreed to jointly pursue implementation of the Nairobi-Malaba-Kampala SGR project and have it completed within 42 months.

In a joint statement signed in Nairobi, the two governments agreed to send a delegation to China to meet the management of China’s Exim Bank to solicit funds to have the Naivasha-Kisumu-Malaba and the Malaba-Kampala implemented adding that commercial contracts had since been signed.

“The Cabinet Secretaries/Ministers responsible for finance and transport to jointly visit EXIM Bank of China from 27th February to 4th March 2017 to discuss the financing modalities. The dates of the visit are subject to confirmation by the government of the People’s Republic of China,” said the joint communique signed by Kenya’s Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich and his Uganda counterpart Matia Kasaija with Cabinet Secretary James Macharia and Uganda’s Engineer Monica Azuba Ntege signing on behalf of their respective transport ministries.

“The two governments (Kenya and Uganda) are committed to full utilisation of the Mombasa-Malaba-Kampala SGR facility upon completion.”The two governments said their joint co-operation was aimed at fasttracking completion of SGR project, thereby helping their citizens enjoy better livelihoods via increased availability of jobs and reduced costs of finished goods.

READ: World Bank warns Kenya over rising appetite for Chinese loans

This would be achieved via reduction on the cost of doing business, lower transport costs and faster delivery of raw materials and processed items to the market locally and abroad.

The SGR project will later be extended to Rwanda’s Kigali city from Kampala and to Juba(South Sudan) from Kampala.

The 273km Kampala-Malaba route estimated to cost Sh 230billion is set for commissioning mid this year with the contract awarded to China Harbour Engineering Company.

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