Uganda moved a step closer to receiving funding for the standard gauge railway when officials from the Exim Bank of China met Keith Muhakanizi, the permanent secretary in the ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, as part of the appraisal for the project.
Kasingye Kyamugambi, the project coordinator for the standard gauge railway for Uganda, said the meeting was part of routine interaction between the financiers and the project developers.
“Purposely, they are here to look at the technical, financial and the economic viability of the project. This is a routine procedure carried out by all financiers especially for mega infrastructure projects,” he said in a statement issued by the SGR team after the meeting, which took place on Monday at the ministry of Finance offices.
Kyamugambi said the appraisal team will evaluate whether the project has been designed to be economically viable; whether all the engineering has been well done and whether all the risks have been taken care of.
According to the statement, the team comprises four engineers and two economists, geo-technicians and alignment experts, among others.
“It is a great step, and we will be working with them,” said Kyamugambi.
Muhakanizi said: “As far as Government of Uganda is concerned, this is the number one priority project; we want to move it forward.”
The project value of the standard gauge railway is $2.3 billion. Currently, the SGR is nearing completion of the acquisition of land, among other preconstruction activities.
The Chinese delegation also held a discussion with the permanent secretary in the ministry of Works and Transport, Bageya Wasswa.
The statement noted that “the consulting firm, the Fourth Railway Survey & Design Institute, will in the next three weeks engage Uganda’s SGR technical team, finance and works officials to review the entire project.”