On Tuesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta will unveil the freight service from Nairobi to Naivasha, with the inland container depot (ICD) having been completed and ready for use. This is great, but the government should do more. It should demonstrate to the public that the depot will ultimately result into improved standards of living for Kenyans.
It is encouraging that the government has assured importers from neighbouring countries that they will not force them on the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Nairobi to Naivasha. Such a directive had truck drivers protesting in the streets.
However, Transport Principal Secretary Esther Koimett has assured importers from neighbouring countries that they will not be forced to use the Nairobi-Naivasha railway line. Instead, the government will create an environment that will encourages cargo owners to use the Naivasha ICD. This means creating incentives, price or non-price, which will attract traders to the new facility. Koimett said they wanted to be responsive to customers so that they can choose to use it. “Our intention is to make it attractive enough for customers,” she said.
The President will flag-off of the freight service, a ceremony that will also be attended by a special envoy of the President of China as well as chairman of China Road and Bridge Corporation and contractors of the railway line.
Also to be unveiled on Tuesday will be a 1,000-acre industrial park, which the government hopes will attract enough industries to produce sufficient goods that can then be transported on the new railway line.
One of President Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda is the creation of manufacturing jobs. Industrial parks, if well managed, have proved good incubators for jobs. Ms Koimett noted that some investors had already shown interest in the special economic zone in Naivasha which is meant to generate goods that can be put on the SGR.
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