NAIROBI, Kenya 19 Sept – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday witnessed the signing of a contract that will pave the way for the construction of the Standard Guage Railway (SGR) from Nairobi to Naivasha.
The Commercial Contract for the construction of Phase 2A of the Nairobi–Naivasha SGR was signed by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBR) Chairman Wen Gang and Kenya Railways Managing Director Atanas Maina during the Cabinet Steering Committee on SGR meeting chaired by the President.
At the meeting, the commercial contract for the Dongo Kundu Special Economic zone was also initialed.
President Kenyatta had earlier presided over the groundbreaking ceremony of the SGR Nairobi terminus.
The extension of the SGR will open up Naivasha – the country’s geothermal production centre – for increased economic activities, especially farming.
The Cabinet Committee meeting held at the proposed Nairobi SGR Terminus site reviewed the progress of the SGR construction project and agreed that it was on course.
Construction of the SGR from Mombasa to Nairobi is scheduled to be completed by June 2017.
Speaking during the meeting, which was attended by Deputy President William Ruto, President Kenyatta emphasised the need for the contractor to increase local content in the project in terms of materials, equipment and labour.
“It is necessary that the project uses local content as much as possible and only imports when what is required cannot be obtained in the country,” President Kenyatta said.
The President also asked CRBC to train and employ many youth to ensure that the project will continue running efficiently even after it is handed over to the Government.
He said the Governments of China and Kenya, together with the contractor, must pool resources to train skilled youth who will manage and maintain the modern railway system.
“We must prepare now to ensure that after completion, we have the requisite skilled manpower to run and maintain the project,” President Kenyatta said.
Cabinet Secretary James Macharia assured the meeting that the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure is committed to investing Sh 1 billion for the establishment of a state-of-the-art centre that will equip the youth with technical skills to take up jobs during construction of the SGR and other major infrastructure projects that are in the pipeline.
The meeting was also attended by Cabinet Secretaries Adan Mohamed (Industrialization and Enterprise Development) and Prof. Judy Wakhungu (Environment, Water and Natural Resources), Attorney-General Githu Muigai, Solicitor-General Njee Muturi, Inspector-General Joseph Boinnet and Kenya Railways Corporation Chairman Gen (Rtd) Julius Kianga among other senior Government officials.