Kenyans who use the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) to and from Mombasa will have to pay more for either canceling or rescheduling their tickets.
Kenya Railways (KR) has raised the penalty for canceling a ticket to 30 percent from the initial 20 percent.
An economy ticket to and from Mombasa costs 1,000 shillings while a first-class ticket costs 3,000 shillings.
For one to cancel an economy ticket, he/she will have to part with 300 shillings while one who cancels the first-class ticket will have to forego 900 shillings.
Kenya Railways has also introduced a 10 percent penalty for passengers who will reschedule their traveling plans.
A passenger on an economy ticket who reschedules will have to let go 100 shillings off the original amount with that on a first-class ticket being deducted 300 shillings.
The SGR Factor
The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) is one of Jubilee government’s “grand infrastructural project” with funding from Exim Bank of China.
Controversy still surrounds the SGR project, especially, over the terms and conditions laid down in an agreement that still remains a top secret.
It is said that the government issued the Port of Mombasa as collateral in the event it defaults paying the loan through both Kenya and China have refuted the claims.
President Uhuru Kenyatta had promised to make the agreement public but went mute thereafter.
Currently, SGR cannot fund itself with taxpayers having the to cough out over 30 billion shillings annually to keep the train moving.
At one point, the Cabinet Secretary for Transfer, Mr. James Macharia, called on Kenyans to asking whether SGR was profitable or not and, instead, focus on the benefits and convenience of the SGR.
Kenya’s Ballooning Debt
Kenya’s public debt continues to balloon as the government keeps on with its roaring appetite for borrowing.
Kenya’s public debt is now at 56 percent of the country’s GDP with a big junk of loans coming from China.
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have already issued a red flag over Kenya’s borrowing appetite.