Transport Secretary James Macharia has said the government will contract private contractors who will not only finance the upgrading of the old metre gauge railway (MGR) but also build a new line connecting to the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) at a total estimated cost of Sh21 billion ($210 million).
The construction will be done through a public-private-partnership contract and the minister says it will help the government avoid borrowing more loans while ensuring that there is a reliable railway connection between Naivasha and the Ugandan border for onward connection to Kampala.
“Private sector would be much faster because you know it is the financing agreements that take longer but if you have ready funding from the private sector then we just engage them within our existing Public Private Partnership arrangements. We concluded the deal for the expressway from Mombasa in two months so it is possible,” said Mr Macharia Wednesday.
Kenya dropped its bid to extend the SGR to Kisumu and later on to the Ugandan border after failing to secure a multi-billion-shilling loan from China, which funded the first and second phases of the new railway line.
Mr Macharia said the government’s priority now is to upgrade the old metre gauge railway and connect it to the SGR through construction of a new road and rail link from Maai Mahiu to the Naivasha MGR station.
Upgrading the old Naivasha-Nakuru-Eldoret-Malaba line will cost an estimated Sh15 billion ($150 million) while building of the Mai Mahiu connection will cost about Sh6 billion ($60 million).