President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed that half of the over 30,000 jobs to be created by the ongoing construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project be sourced in areas where the railway line passes.
The rest of the opportunities, he said, should go to youth from other parts of the country since the SGR is a national project. He said he has already agreed with the Chinese government that all employment opportunities arising from the project that do not require foreign expertise be set aside for Kenyans.
He was speaking when he visited Mtito Andei in Makueni County to assess progress made on the 485 kilometre Mombasa-Nairobi railway line.
The proposed railway line passes through eight counties namely Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta, Makueni, Kajiado, Machakos and Nairobi. By yesterday, about 500 metres of the rail had already been laid at Mtito Andei. This is after the China Road and Bridge Corporation finalised construction of camps and raw material factories along the proposed line.
Kenyatta said the Government will do everything within its means to ensure the milestone project is complete as soon as possible due to the huge economic benefits it portends.
“This project will see our economy grow by a minimum of 1.5 per cent. This will take our GDP to between seven and eight per cent. The railway will bring down the price of so many commodities whose prices are currently very high because of transport cost,” he said.
The president also directed Makueni County leaders to resolve their political differences immediately suggesting he might dissolve the county government if wrangles persist.
Local leaders urged the president to ensure justice for all who will be affected by the construction. “We want title deeds and proper compensation for our people,” said Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior.