Ruto to reverse SGR port order


President William Ruto during Kenya Kwanza Economic Forum at Kitale Club in Trans Nzoia County on May 08, 2022. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG

Deputy President William Ruto will reverse legal and administrative changes over the use of the standard gauge railway (SGR) — a pet project of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration — should he win the presidential poll on August 9.

Mr Ruto said on Tuesday he would return major operations shifted to Naivasha and Nairobi to the Coast to end the economic deprivation facing local communities.

“It was never the intention of the government to build the SGR so that the coastal people can be impoverished. The SGR was meant to make the port much more efficient and to improve the business and the fortunes of the Coastal people,” he said in Nairobi on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, a few people took hostage the whole project and ended up with selfish programmes to the detriment of the coastal people.”

President Kenyatta’s administration has championed the SGR project, which he has maintained has reduced the logistics cost and boosted regional connectivity and integration and economic growth of Kenya’s inland.

Kenya is obligated to honour repayment of the Sh327 billion it borrowed for the project from the Exim Bank of China in May 2014 and started repaying last year after the expiry of the five-year grace period.

President Kenyatta has argued the SGR and the new inland container terminals in Nairobi and Naivasha have reduced congestion improved hinterland connectivity and spurred economic growth.

About 30 percent of all cargo coming through Mombasa port goes to neighbouring countries.

Deputy President William Ruto and Mr Odinga are the leading hopefuls to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta who will leave the office at the end of constitutional two terms.

Dr Ruto is running on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party ticket.

President Kenyatta also said earlier that the completion of the depots and commencement of freight services will significantly support and provide anchorage, for the development of the proposed Naivasha Industrial Park.

He said the 45,000-square-meter Naivasha ICD will not only help relieve pressure on the Port of Mombasa and the Nairobi ICD but will also take the cargo closer to Uganda and South Sudan by a further 120 kilometers from Nairobi.

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