CHAIRMAN of the Parliamentary Public Investment Committee (PIC) Mr Jerry Silaa has appealed to the government to fast track the next steps for finalising the Dar es Salaam Port development deal, so that Tanzanians can eventually start reaping the benefits.
Mr Silaa made the call in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday, insisting that Tanzanians should continue to have confidence in their leaders and government.
He noted that the execution of the port development plan was in line with government plans, including the Third National Five-Year Development Plan (FYDP III; 2021/22 – 2025/26), the port’s strategic plans and the ruling party CCM election manifesto of 2020-2025.
Mr Silaa, thus, urged Tanzanians to listen carefully to all people’s views, stressing that the government did not sleep overnight and come up with the idea.
“The time has come for Tanzanians to experience the benefits they have been seeing and hearing from various presentations…at this juncture, the government should increase its pace in moving forward to implement the Host Government Agreement (HGA) to the Concession Agreement and Negotiations,” said Mr Silaa.
According to him, the Dar es Salaam Port carries the face of the country’s tourism, which compliments President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s efforts through the well celebrated Royal Tour.
Besides, full operation of the development will enable the country’s avocados to be smoothly transported, thereby bringing about lucrative profits among Tanzanian farmers.
He also indicated that upon completion of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), the establishment will need 25 million tonnes of cargo for it to operate profitably; therefore, the Dar es Salaam Port’s development is bound to facilitate this.
Although a great deal of milestones have been achieved at the port, he observed that challenges have continued to be witnessed, citing an example of lack of docking sites for large cruise ships, forcing tourists to share a RO-RO terminal which handles vehicles.
Among such challenges are long waiting times of about 5 to 10 days for ships to dock at the port, something which affects transporters, forcing them to pay demurrage charges of about 25,000 US dollar and 35,000 US dollars (equivalent to 60m/- to 90m/-).
He noted that such a huge cost is later being inflicted upon the end user, who is an ordinary Tanzania.
He cautioned Tanzanians to be wary of all the flowing views and opinions among fellows, insisting that the majority are acting on their own interests.
The Ukonga Member of Parliament also said that the development at the port will enable efficiency, while stressing that the port’s management will be undertaken in accordance with the country’s law.
As the Chairman of PIC and focal person for all private entities, he was confident with the development plan of the port, maintaining that the matter was taken to the National Assembly through the Joint Parliamentary Standing Committees on PIC and Infrastructural Development, hence got an opportunity to work on the issue at first hand.
He went on saying that people have shifted from discussing the content of the agreement rather than deriving their own issues to incite the public for their own interests.
“The Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) is an international agreement, which is being governed by the Vienna Convention and not the contract,” said Mr Silaa, pointing out that people have focused on the first step leaving the entire process which involves the HGA and Concession Agreement.
He insisted that the government does not have any intentions to privatise any port in the country, insisting that this was not the first time such agreement was entered citing an example of the airports, where operations are done by some private entities.