The Sh150 billion Nairobi-Naivasha standard gauge railway opens today with the passenger services without a date set for the start of the more economically-viable cargo business. This raises a lot of questions considering that the Transport Secretary has given various dates when the upgrade of the line to Malaba would start.
June was the original date, then this was pushed to August, and, after a long wait, taxpayers got the more depressing news that the project has not been approved.
Apart from the upgrade, the dry port in Naivasha is also not ready, in part due to political wrangles which risk throwing a ring of doubts around the multi-billion shilling project.
Kenya initiated the SGR project with eyes on seamless transportation of cargo from Mombasa to Uganda. Although the country has borrowed heavily to make part of this commitment come to pass, it still needs to ensure the project is completed and the costs for doing so managed efficiently. Anything else will be a bumpy ride for the train investment that has been roundly criticised for the huge costs involved, not to lost the money lost in suspect compensations.
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