Bugene-Benaco road to enhance regional economy

THE Deputy Minister for Works and Transport, Engineer Godfrey Kasekenya has appealed to engineers under the Tanzania National Roads Agency (Tanroads), and contractors performing various road projects in the country to ensure value for money and timely completion of the works.

Equally, he urged wananchi where such projects are being executed to ensure that they safeguard the infrastructure.

The deputy minister made the remarks on Thursday during his one-day tour of the region where, among other things, he inspected several road projects including the 120 kms Bugene- Kasulo (Benaco) road which is expected to cost a total of 109 bn/- upon completion.

Minister Kasekenya explained that, the Bugene- Kasulo (Benaco) road is of great importance because it will link Tanzania to four neighbouring East African Community (EAC) nations namely Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and South Sudan.

“The Bugene (Karagwe) – Kasulo (Benaco-Ngara) road is crucial because it will enhance regional economy by allowing citizens of the five EAC countries to make business. People should safeguard the infrastructure from being vandalized,” he said.

He also instructed the contractor to ensure that he provides essential social services in surrounding villages including health facilities and improving schools infrastructures.

Engineer Christian Mbise from Tanroads Engineering Consulting Unit (TECU), informed the deputy minister that the 120 kms Bugene- Kasulo (Benaco) road is being implemented by Ms China Road and Bridge Cooperation Company Ltd (CRBCC), and was expected to be completed within 30 months period.

He further elaborated that the work progress to-date had reached 6.7 per cent while the contractor was making efforts to hire   qualified engineers and other essential equipment on the project site.

Earlier, Minister Kasekenya visited Kitengure Bridge, in Missenyi District where he commended engineers and the contractor for completing the project as per contractual agreement.

An official from the Kagera Sugar Limited (KSL), Mr Vicent Mtaki explained that the completion of the Kitengule Bridge was a milestone. ” About 16,000 hectares of sugarcane are on Karagwe side while 14,000 hectares are in Missenyi District.  In the past, we had to cover a distance of 140 kms transporting sugarcane to KSL factory premises.

“The distance had been greatly reduced to only 14 kms. We thank President Samia Suluhu Hassan for the timely intervention,” he said.

In May, this year The Parliamentary Committee on Infrastructure   expressed satisfaction with the construction progress of the Kitengure Bridge, in Missenyi District, while also urging the contractor to ensure the project is completed on time.

Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Infrastructure, Mr Moshi Kakoso, explained that the bridge is economically viable as it would link Missenyi and Karagwe districts while also facilitating transportation of the sugarcane to the Kagera Sugar.

“Due to its economic importance I hereby direct the Tanzania National Roads Agency (Tanroads) to closely supervise the project and ensure that the contractor completes it as per agreement,” he said.

Equally, he tasked engineers under Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS) to ensure that they closely supervise contractors to ensure the ongoing projects in different regions in the country are completed on time.

Deputy Minister Kasekenya assured investors of the government commitment to continue improving key infrastructures including roads and bridges to enable them operate smoothly.

He lauded engineers under TANROADS for their commitment to oversee various projects being implemented in different regions.

The deputy minister commended President Samia Suluhu Hassan for the efforts being made by the government to implement people-oriented projects.

“After I toured the Kitengure Bridge project I am satisfied by the promising work progress. However, the contractor must ensure that the overall project is completed and handed over before the deadline set for January 31, next year,” he said.

He explained that President Samia is committed to ensure that major infrastructures including roads and bridges, especially those on border areas including Kagera Region are completed in order to connect Tanzania with neighbouring countries including Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo.

Tanroads Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Engineer Rogatus Mativila, who led a team of experts from the Ministry of Works recently explained that the bridge, to cost about 25.367bn/- upon completion, will link Kagera Sugar to neighboring Kyaka-Bugene road and Kakunyu Ward, also enabling easy transportation of sugar cane from the farms to the Kagera Sugar Factory.

Meanwhile, Engineer Lucas Nyaki from Luptan Consultants who are supervising construction of the bridge, cited Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing rains as among factors that delayed the project to be completed on the agreed 36 months.

However, he said the bridge construction had reached 99.5 per cent while the overall progress work including 18kms road network had recorded 96. 8 per cent and will be completed soon.

The Kitengure Bridge is among mega projects initiated by the late former President John Magufuli and would facilitate transportation of people and goods in Missenyi and Karagwe districts.

The bridge construction is being undertaken by a contractor, Ms China Henan International Cooperation Group Co. Ltd (CHICO), at a cost of 25,366,666,667/-. The date of original contract completion was set on October 26th, 2019 but had to be extended due to impacts of Covid-19 and heavy rains.

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