- Mr Macharia and Mr Odinga said the approach to the SGR funding has changed but the project is still on.
- Among the new projects is a special economic zone to be established in Muhoroni.
- Sh700 million will be used to repair the Naivasha-Kisumu railway stretch.
Kenya will not rely on foreign funding to finance the multi-billion-shilling standard gauge railway (SGR) extension from Naivasha to Kisumu, the government now says.
The government has said it is considering alternative projects in the lakeside region, which it will use to generate funds to be used to finance the ambitious railway project.
The revelations were made during a tour Monday, led by ODM leader Raila Odinga, of various projects the government has earmarked for Kisumu's economic transformation.
Mr Odinga is the African Union Special Envoy for Infrastructural Development.
PROJECT STILL ON
While maintaining that Kenya has not abandoned the SGR project to Kisumu, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia and Mr Odinga said the approach to the SGR funding has changed but the project is still on.
The move signals the government’s shift from initial plans to borrow Sh368 billion from Export-Import (Exim) Bank of China even as it has emerged that the Asian giant is reluctant to fund the project.
The key infrastructure projects whose success the government is banking on to revive the SGR dream include the port, Kenya Pipeline Company’s oil jetty and the special economic zone whose location was identified on Monday at Kango, in Ombeyi Ward, Muhoroni Sub-County.
The projects, which are on strict deadlines, are set to commence immediately as instructed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
They are to be launched officially in August by President Kenyatta, his Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and DR Congo’s Felix Tshisekedi.
Speaking for the first time on the SGR trip to China, Mr Raila Odinga denied claims that Kenya was denied a loan, indicating that the government has changed its approach and priorities in terms of sequencing of projects.
“There have been misleading reports in the media on our mission to China yet we only changed the sequencing of our projects,” said Mr Odinga.
“We never failed in China. It is just a matter of sequencing and the SGR is going to come to Kisumu through Malaba to Kampala,” he said.
He said the multi-billion industrial park to be set up in Muhoroni is what the people of Kisumu County will get as it lays foundation for the coming of SGR that will terminate at the port.
His sentiments were echoed by Mr Macharia who insisted that the government has not abandoned the construction of the SGR line to Kisumu.
The CS said the development initiatives being rolled out in the region are key to ensuring the SGR line is busy once it reaches Kisumu.
“We have not abandoned the project. What we are doing is rehabilitating the meter gauge railway line from Naivasha to Malaba to ferry goods to Uganda,” he said.
Mr Odinga and Mr Munya said they have decided to prioritise industrialization in Kisumu starting with a 500-acre special economic zone which is expected to employ about 25,000 Kisumu residents.