Uhuru’s grand ride nears but no insurance cover for SGR wagons
The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) is yet to get an insurance cover, even with a grand ride by President Uhuru Kenyatta expected this Wednesday. So far, a number of insurance companies have submitted quotations and met with senior officials from the Ministry of Transport and Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) to discuss insurance packages on offer for the Sh327 billion project, but no agreement has been forthcoming. Sources say the delay has been caused by the high premium estimated to be running into millions of shillings, which the concessionaire is reluctant to pay. KRC Managing Director Atanas Maina on Thursday said: “We are in the process of finalising and identifying an operator who will provide cover for the movement of passengers and goods. As soon as we finalise the process, we will identify an insurance firm locally or internationally capable of offering the services.”
Four hour journey
The law is clear on insurance of such State projects. The Kenya Railways Corporation Act 397 states that; (1) “The corporation shall not be liable for the loss of life of, or for personal injury to, any passenger except where the loss of life or personal injury is caused by the want of ordinary care, diligence or skill on the part of the Corporation of any employee.”
China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) official Chen Siang on Thursday said the corporation was only a contractor for the project and had nothing to do with matters insurance. “Insurance is not our field. Only KRC can answer those questions. We are in SGR construction and we are going to hand over to KRC because our work here is already done and it is entering a new phase,” the CRBC told the Sunday Standard. The insurance will come in handy given that the Kenya Railways Corporation has suffered some tragic train accidents in the past. President Uhuru Kenyatta will launch the SGR by making a four-hour train journey from Mombasa to Nairobi. The SGR, a key Jubilee administration project, will be a game-changer in the transport industry.