Kampala- The Exim Bank of China has started the appraisal of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project.
On Monday, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Finance met the Chinese Exim Bank appraisal consultants in his office since the ministry is leading the negotiations for the $2.3b financing of the Eastern route SGR project.
“As far as Government of Uganda is concerned, this is the number one priority project, we want to move it forward,” said Mr Keith Muhakanizi, the ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury.
The consulting firm, the Fourth Railway Survey & Design Institute, a Fortune 500 listed company, will in the next three weeks engage Uganda’s SGR technical team, Finance and Works officials to review the entire project.
This is an important step in the lifecycle of the project, especially as the project moves towards securing financing.
“Purposely, they are here to look at the technical, financial and the economic viability, this is a routine procedure carried out by all financiers especially for mega infrastructure projects,” said Mr Kasingye Kyamugambi, the SGR project coordinator.
The appraisal team will visit the field for one week but will engage with the project technical team and other government agencies.
It also visited and held a discussion with the permanent secretary in the ministry of works, Mr Bageya Wasswa.
The team of consultants will be evaluating whether the project as designed is economically viable, whether all the engineering has been well done and whether all the risks both technical and financial have been taken care of.
The team comprises four engineers and two economists, geotechnicians and alignment experts among others.
“It is a great step, and we will be working with them,” said Mr Kyamugambi.
The consultants, hired by Exim Bank will visit the key construction points along the route including kilometre 00 (the starting point of the SGR), the super bridge in Jinja, Kampala East station in Namanve, swamp bridges, Tororo station and the Access Road Flyover.
The SGR project has, to date, made significant progress towards accomplishing the major pre-construction activities.
Several design reconciliation and harmonisation projects have either been completed or are ongoing among them the intersection at Access road between JICA flyover, the meter gauge railway and the standard gauge railway.
After discussions with the stakeholders including Kampala Capital City Authority, Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), the flyover was elevated higher and the SGR will have a separate grade crossing.
Avoiding many intersections between Jinja Kampala Express Way and the SGR would require harmonising the levels and angles of approach. The Express Way is being re-aligned to run along the SGR and Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) has taken this positive initiative for the sake of harmonising infrastructure along the corridor.
Power. SGR is also working with Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited to ensure that future construction and designs are harmonised with the SGR as well as district roads.
Water. SGR is also harmozing with National Water and Sewerage Corporation to move water utilities affected by SGR.