Ministry of Works and Transport came out Friday to dismiss media reports that Uganda had put on hold the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) Project.
Works and Transport Minister Hon Monica Azuba Ntege clarified that the media reports which came out this week suggesting that the SGR project had been halted, were as a result of confusion of two different railway projects that government is pursuing concurrently.
Government, she said, is actively pursuing the SGR project which is expected to connect Mombasa to Kampala, Juba, Kigali and Eastern DRC; while at the same time reviving and rehabilitating the old existing Meter Gauge Railway (MGR).
“When you see us working on the meter gauge railway, you think that we are abandoning the SGR, but we are not,” Azuba told press at the Uganda media center.
Government embarked on the revival of the old railway system (MGR) after taking over its operations from the concessionaire (Rift Valley Railways) which was underperforming.
Under this project, government has since reopened the central corridor through L. Victoria by rehabilitating the Port Bell line, Warehouses and the Port Bell link span.
Government has also conducted repairs on the Kampala-Malaba line as well as on the rolling stock and equipment.
Minister Azuba told press hat government is concentrating on both the SGR and MGR, which she said will be “complementary to each other in several ways.”
“The SGR will concentrate largely on cargo — for imports and exports. But we also need the MGR to work as feeder system, in places where the SGR doesn’t reach,” she said.
“We are not abandoning or delaying the SGR. The only delay is coming from harmonizing with our neighboring states. We want to ensure that we work together and complete the (SGR) project at the same time.”
Minister Azuba further revealed that the SGR project is currently on track, with the process of accessing the financing from the Exim Bank of China in its final stages.
She added that government has so far acquired land and paid off a total of 3083 project affected persons out of 10,207 (33.5%).
“The acquired has been cleared demarcated and is being protected from encroachers,” added the minister.
Azuba as such emphasized that the SGR project is a priority project of both Government, and President Yoweri Museveni and that it must be seen through.