By E Njega
Tanzania is doing 2,561 km of SGR at KShs 1.4 trillion giving a cost per km of KShs 560 million.
Our SGR from Mombasa to Malaba is 961 km long. Meaning that at Tanzanian costing our SGR would have cost a total of KShs 538 billion to Malaba.
The only reason we can’t finish the line is due to corruption and stupidity. Why can’t Jubilee tender the project to non-Chinese contractors? Are we bewitched?
China is even advancing Tanzania SGR money even after Chinese contractors failed to win tenders. If you respect yourself others will respect you too and vice versa.
The Tanzanians also brightly decided to do the entire line using our Thika Highway model whereby it was divided into phases each tendered differently.
They could be through with the whole thing in five years. Remember the longer you take to do a project the costlier it is in the end.
The Phase 2A of the SGR from Nairobi to Naivasha is supposed to be through by June 2019. Nobody knows the fate of the remaining phase of the project from Naivasha to Malaba.
Before the much publicized Uhuru Raila trip to China the last we had heard about was when the Chinese asked the government to submit a feasibility study before signing a loan agreement to finance it. Despite the Transport CS James Macharia boasting that they would just go to the hotel and produce the feasibility numbers nothing is yet to be heard three months on.
Unless the Chinese agree to the idea of providing part of the remaining Phase’s funding as a grant, it will be difficult to finance it any other way. The government has exhausted its borrowing capacity and any further borrowing will result in a calamity.
Maybe there was all along a plan to terminate the SGR in Naivasha to benefit some landowners there. Economically it makes no sense to have had a Nairobi-Naivasha phase as a separate part of the project.
The second phase should have been from Nairobi to Malaba in order to increase the economic viability of the rail. We all know as of now there is really no serious economic activity in Naivasha to justify the Phase 2A.
It would have made more sense to do the Nairobi-Naivasha and Malaba-Naivasha links concurrently. If the SGR fails to proceed beyond Naivasha, it will make sense to write off the Phase 2A altogether.