Former Transport Principal Secretary (PS) Irungu Nayakera wants the government to end its contract with China in the management of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and hire a competitively sourced operator for the trains.
Nyakera, who currently serves as the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA), added that SGR operations as an open competitive process.
He argued that ending the Chinese contract would aid the government in bringing in more revenue to be channelled towards the construction of the Naivasha-Kisumu stretch by the end of June 2027.
In his statement, Nayakera argued that he was best placed to make the recommendations as the SGR was procured and constructed while he served as Transport PS in the former Uhuru Kenyatta administration.
Photo of KEMSA board chairperson Irungu Nyakera taken on November 11, 2022
“As the PS who oversaw funding, construction, and operationalisation of the SGR, I propose the government do the following (as proposed),” Irungu pointed out.
He also proposed lowering the cost of rail and pushing more cargo from highways to the SGR to reduce road accidents and maintenance fees.
Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen, he added, should further halt the expansion and repair of Mombasa Road until the SGR capacity is utilised fully.
His recommendations have also spanned increasing passenger traffic on the rail by allowing investors to run multiple-passenger SGR trains.
Nyakera reasoned that this would help increase revenues as the stations can accommodate eight to 16 exchanges/trains.
Allowing investors to run wagons on existing SGR cargo heads, according to Nyakera, will cut down investment costs.
At the same time, attractive pricing will incentivise transporters to ferry goods via trains rather than the road network.
The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) train readies for takeoff at the Nairobi terminus.
Photo: Kenya Railways