The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance Keith Muhakanizi yesterday met with Chinese Exim Bank appraisal consultants at his office to discuss securing financing for the Standard Gauge Railway Project.
The Ministry of Finance is leading the negotiations for the $2.3b financing of the Eastern route of the SGR.
“As far as Government of Uganda is concerned, this is the number one priority project; we want to move it forward,” said Muhakanizi in the meeting.
The consulting firm, the Fourth Railway Survey & Design Institute, according to officials in the Ministry of Works, will in the next three weeks engage Uganda’s SGR technical team, Finance and Works officials to review the entire project.
“Purposely 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 Kasingye Kyamugambi, SGR project Coordinator.
They Exim officials today embarked on field visit which they will for the next one week, and also engage with the project technical team and other government agencies.
The Chinese team also visited and held a discussion with the permanent secretary in the ministry of works, Bageya Wasswa.
The appraisal team will be evaluating whether the project as designed is economically viable, whether all the engineering has been well done and whether all the risks both technical and financial have been taken care of.
The team comprises four engineers (four) and two economists (two), geo technicians and alignment experts among others.
“It is a great step, and we will be working with them,” said Kyamugambi
The consultants hired by Exim Bank will visit the key construction points along the route including kilometer 00 (the starting point of the SGR), the super bridge in Jinja, Kampala East station in Namanve, swamp bridges, Tororo station and the Access Road Flyover.
So far, several design reconciliation and harmonization projects have either been completed or are ongoing among them the intersection at Access road between the JICA flyover, the meter gauge railway and the standard gauge railway.
According to officials, after intense discussions with all the stakeholders including KCCA, UNRA, the flyover was elevated higher and the SGR will have a separate grade crossing.
Avoiding many intersections between Jinja Kampala Express Way and the SGR would require harmonizing the levels and angles of approach, the Jinja Kampala Express Way (JKEW) is being re-aligned to run along the SGR and UNRA has taken this positive initiative for the sake of harmonizing infrastructure along the corridor.
SGR is also working with UETCL to ensure that future construction and designs are harmonized with the SGR as well as district roads.
They are also harmozing with NWSC to move water utilities affected by SGR.