The Minister of Finance, planning and economic development, Matia Kasaija told the parliament on June 8 during the presentation of the 2017-18 national budget that “the management of the Uganda railway will revert to the Uganda Railways Corporation”, confirming the termination of Rift Valley Railways’ (RVR) concession.
However, by the time Kasaija informed parliament, RVR had already received a notice of termination of the Uganda Concession.
This has been revealed by the company’s spokesperson, Isaiah Okoth. In a statement issued Monday, Okoth says, “On 7th June 2017, RVRU received a Notice of Termination of the Uganda Concession from the Government of Uganda (GoU)”.
However, he says RVR doesn’t agree with the claims raised.
“Even though RVRU does not agree with the substance of the claims and the process adopted in the issuance of the said notice, it has been and continues to be in discussions with the GoU and the Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) regarding the possibility of lifting the notice and enabling RVRU to conclude its discussions with some interested potential investor(s).
“In the meantime, RVRU shall have a ninety (90) day cure period should it deem fit to cure the alleged defaults. RVRU’s lenders shall thereafter be entitled to a maximum of one hundred and eighty (180) days to cure the alleged defaults. Meanwhile, the management and staff remain in place and are operating the Railway Services as normal.”
RVR had been tasked to operate the Uganda’s 1918km metre-gauge network.
According to Kasaija, Uganda will this year complete acquisition of 84% of the alignment of the $US 2.3bn Malaba – Kampala standard-gauge line. The 273km electrified line will be built by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).