We know what we need, Uhuru tells SGR critics
President Uhuru Kenyatta has hit out at critics of the Sh327 billion standard gauge railway (SGR) project, arguing Kenya needs to invest in infrastructure to spur economic growth.
A recent report in the weekly British publication the Economist pointed out that the project could have cost as little as Sh16 billion echoing sentiments by the World Bank that the country was over borrowing for non priority projects.
According to the head of state, developing countries such as Kenya have been at the mercy of global lenders who attach strict conditions for credit which do not necessarily reflect the development agendas.
The president stressed that the country will not be bullied into a corner by financial institutions as the government moves to build pillars for economic growth.
“We know what we need. We know what we must do. We are no longer going to be the dumping ground for products, for goods while our people have no jobs, while our people suffer in poverty. We are going to move to the next level regardless of what The Economist says,” President Kenyatta said during the Statehouse Infrastructure Summit.
The 427 kilometer SGR project has been a hot potato subject for the jubilee government with many questioning its worth to the country. The government is already sourcing funding for the extension of the railway line from Nairobi to Naivasha as it plans to construct an energy park.
Drawing comparisons to Asian economies, President Kenyatta said Kenya must be ready to chart its own development agenda.
“Where are those (Asian) tigers today? They are probably amongst the fastest growing, most prosperous nations in the world and they ignored the World Bank,” he said.
The standard gauge railway is expected to be complete by December with tests on the line to be carried out before commissioned in mid 2017.
The new railway line is expected to ease transportation from the port of Mombasa. One train is expected to haul 216 twenty-foot containers in a journey, equivalent to 108 trucks on the road.
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