NAIROBI, Kenya, May 21- President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to launch the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line on May 31 in a ceremony to be attended by senior officials from the Chinese Government.
State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said China will be sending a delegation comprising members of its State Council who will include two ministers and a vice-minister for the launch.
“China who provided the funds through loans that the SGR was built will be sending a senior delegation of the State Council at that launch,” Esipisu said Sunday during his weekly press briefing at the State House.
“We do expect that the President will officiate at events of the container terminal on May 30 before embarking on a train ride the following day,” he added.
During the launch, the President will also make a number of stopovers to commission newly built terminus before concluding his trip aboard the SGR train in Nairobi.
The Head of State is expected to stop at most of the major SGR terminus which include Mariakani, Miasenyi, Voi, Mtito Andei, Kibwezi, Emali and Athi River before making his way to the capital.
Esipisu noted that President Kenyatta had secured funding from the Export-Import Bank of China for the extension of the railway line from Naivasha to Kisumu city where the government intends to build a new port.
“The President reached agreements on new partnership with China and some of those agreements include support for funding for the Exim Bank of China for the next phase of the SGR that will take it from Naivasha to Kisumu.”
According to the Kenya Railway Corporation (KRC), it is estimated that the Nairobi- Naivasha section of the SGR will cost about US $ 1.5 billion. Official figures for the Naivasha- Kisumu section are yet to be released.
Although the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development is yet to disclose how much it would cost passengers to travel between Nairobi and Mombasa aboard the SGR train, the ministry has hinted in the recent past that it is likely to cost more or less the amount passengers pay travelling on Public Service Vehicles between the two cities.
Cabinet Secretary James Macharia recently said that government officials drawn from various government agencies were working on the fare tariff before making an announcement on the matter.