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Uganda in final negotiations for building railway to Kenyan port

by Ronald Ssekandi KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday said the country was in the final stage of negotiations over the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

In his state of nation address, Museveni said an agreement would soon be signed once the protracted negotiations are concluded.

"We have got a good formula and we shall conclude so that we start building the SGR," he said.

The president did not mention with whom the government is negotiating with.

The SGR links the landlocked country to the Kenyan seaport of Mombasa. Kenya has completed construction of the SGR linking its capital Nairobi to Mombasa, with construction to western Kenya underway.

The Nairobi-Mombasa SGR is built by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) and financed by China’s Export Import Bank.

Museveni said the SGR would bring down the cost of transport from 3,456 dollars per 40 feet container by road to 1,800 dollars using the SGR.


TAZARA plans to transport 300,000 tonnes of cargo in fiscal year 2019-2020

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- The Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) Board of Directors has approved plans to transport 300,000 tonnes of freight in its 2019-2020 financial year, said a statement released by TAZARA on Sunday.

The statement issued after a meeting of TAZARA Board of Directors members in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam said the Board has also approved plans to ferry 800,000 passengers during the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

The statement said the Board was also resolved to engage more private operators so that the volume of traffic on TAZARA could increase further.

"TAZARA owns a lot of valuable assets that are either lying idle or are underutilized in most cases," said the statement.

The Board also directed TAZARA management to appoint a contract manager to specifically manage contracts for the open access and the rental of locomotives from other railway operators, said the statement.

The statement added that the Board directed the TAZARA management to evaluate the possibility of embracing workable public-private partnership models through which to finance the re-manufacture of idle locomotives and the development of idle land assets.

TAZARA was constructed as a turnkey project between 1970 and 1975 through an interest-free loan from China, with commercial operations starting in July 1976, covering 1,860 km from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to New Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia.

Uganda hopes to increase coffee production to boost foreign revenue

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Uganda is implementing targeted interventions in the coffee sector to boost production in the country’s major foreign exchange earner.

President Yoweri Museveni, while delivering the State of Nation Address on Thursday in parliament, said the government is focusing on the distribution of better seedlings and improving harvesting, post-harvesting and storage methods.

"If we can increase production per hectare of coffee as an example from the current 0.67 tons to 2.2 tons per hectare like in Brazil and Vietnam, Uganda would be earning about 2 billion U.S. dollars from unprocessed coffee alone," Museveni said.

With that production, he said, Uganda will produce 21 million bags of green coffee per year, and if the coffee was roasted before export, the country would earn 6.7 billion dollars annually.

If the coffee is processed and transformed into soluble instant coffee, the earnings would go up to 16.8 billion dollars annually.

Museveni said in the financial year 2017/2018, Uganda earned 492 million dollars from coffee exports.

Six killed in eastern Uganda landslides

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Six people have been confirmed dead while nine others are in hospital after landslides hit the eastern Uganda district of Bududa, the police said on Wednesday.

David Agaba, District Police Commander, told Xinhua by telephone that the Tuesday landslides affected three sub-counties—Buwali, Bukalasi and Bubita.

More than 30 families were affected but we are yet to assess the situation in Bukalasi, Agaba said.

"The situation on the ground is not good at all. If the rain continues, we might experience a bigger disaster," the police officer added.

He said rescue teams were on the ground doing everything possible to help the affected residents.

Agaba said the number of fatalities could go up after assessing the impact in Bukalasi.

Buwali and Bukalasi were last October affected by landslides, leaving about 38 people dead and hundreds displaced.



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