The Ministry of Works and Transport has announced that works on the first phase of the Shs12 trillion ($8 billion) Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) will commence this year in May on the Eastern and Northern routes.
The Eastern route stretch will run from Malaba to Nimule through Tororo, Mbale, Kumi, Soroti, Lira and Gulu with a branch from Gulu to Pakwach.
The announcement was made today in Kampala at a ceremony to start sensitisation workshops on the SGR around the country most notably in the districts in which the railway is going to stretch.
Minister for Works, John Byabagambi, speaking at the event said the time is now that Uganda to start witnessing the construction of a landmark infrastructure undertaken since independence in 1962.
“Whoever said we cannot, the time is now to show them that we can,” Engineer Byabagambi said. “The Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract was signed by the President on March 30th in China which paved way for the start.”
Works on the two route will be undertaken by China Harbour Engineering Corporation (CHEC). Another Chinese firm China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) will undertake construction on the Western and South Western.
The SGR project line is expected to be complete by March by 2018 and China recently agreed to inject $3.6 billion into the first phase—the 609.3 kilometers section from Mombasa-Nairobi. Construction is ongoing.
The SGR line will run from Kenya, Uganda, DR Congo, Rwanda and South Sudan. It was envisioned to provide effective and least-cost rail transport for both freight and passengers.
The guest of honor, the deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah, praised President Museveni for his reflection that Uganda needs such an important infrastructural project.
“The SGR is the most single influential infrastructural project that should have been implemented yesterday,” Mr Oulanyah noted. “But we are glad that it is starting in May.”