China Exim Bank officials visit Uganda to appraise SGR project
INFRASTRUCTURE Finance ministry mandated to lead negotiations for the Sh236 billion venture
The Exim Bank of China has started the appraisal of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project.
On Monday, a top official in the Ministry of Finance met the bank’s consultants in his office since the ministry is leading negotiations for the Sh236 billion ($2.3bn) financing of the Eastern route SGR project.
“As far as Government of Uganda is concerned, this is the number one priority project, we want to move it forward,” said Mr Keith Muhakanizi, the Finance ministry Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury.
The consulting firm, Fourth Railway Survey & Design Institute, a Fortune 500 listed company, will in the next three weeks engage Uganda’s SGR technical team, Finance and Works ministry officials to review the entire project.
“They are here to look at the technical, financial and the economic viability, this is a routine procedure carried out by all financiers especially for mega infrastructure projects,” said Mr Kasingye Kyamugambi, the SGR project coordinator. The appraisal team will visit the field for one week. It also held discussions with the Works ministry Permanent Secretary, Mr Bageya Wasswa. The team of consultants will evaluate whether the project as designed is economically viable, whether all the engineering has been well done and whether the risks both technical and financial have been taken care of.
The team comprises four engineers and two economists, geotechnicians and alignment experts, among others.
“It is a great step and we will be working with them,” said Mr Kyamugambi.
The consultants, hired by Exim Bank, will visit key construction points along the route. Several design reconciliation and harmonisation projects have either been completed or are ongoing, among them the intersection at Access Road, the meter gauge railway and the standard gauge railway.
After discussions with the stakeholders including Kampala Capital City Authority and Uganda National Roads Authority, the flyover was elevated higher and the SGR will have a separate grade crossing.