FISHING PORT PROJECT : Why Samia optimistic

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan is upbeat about the newly launched 280bn/- Kilwa Masoko Fishing Port project in driving Tanzania’s ambitious blue economy agenda.

Speaking during an event to lay its foundation stone and hand over 160 boats to fishermen and seaweed farmers in Kilwa District of Lindi Region, Dr Samia disclosed that Kilwa can produce a lot of fish considering the rich water resources, which the area has been endowed with.

“Due to available riches, the government is committed to explore this huge potential by deploying our experts to see the possibility of engaging the youth in fishing,” she pointed out.

Assuring on a readily market of fish, sea crabs and sea cucumber products, the Head of State further said: “ The government aims to restore the lost glory of Kilwa by making it a strong business and tourism centre within and outside the country.”

She added: “I am calling for cooperation for the project to be completed so that the goals are achieved fast enough.”

In a related development, Dr Samia told the youth of the government’s efforts toward introducing the Building a Better Tomorrow Youth Initiative Project (BBT-YIA) mainly for fisheries as per the geographical setting of the area.

She said the initiative is in line with the implementation of the Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) Manifesto (2020-2025) which emphasizes on creating conducive environment for the country to benefit from opportunities in the fisheries sector, both in Sea and Lakes.

Equally, the Head of State applauded the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries for successfully rolling out the project which is in line with the CCM Manifesto.

With regard to the boats, Dr Samia noted that they have been handed over to fishermen in seaweed farming at a very low interest rate, where some 139 boats will benefit small-scale fishers and 21 for seaweed farmers.

The boats are expected to improve the fishing and seaweed sectors; hence, generating 3,295 direct employments while also boost the incomes of the community.

Likewise, Dr Samia noted that the boats will assist seaweed farmers to ply to and from areas, where they carry out their activities as well as ease transportation during the harvesting season.

Additionally, she urged the beneficiaries to ensure that the boats were well maintained and used for the intended goals in the generation of incomes, saying that the government intends to see the boats boosting the economy of Kilwa.

She stressed on the need for the parties to service their loans to enable the government to procure more boats which will be supplied to other people in the wake of improving the country’s blue economy.

On his part, the Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, Mr Abdallah Ulega noted that the fishing port is envisioned to increase its contribution to the national GDP from the current 1.8 per cent to 10 per cent by 2036.

Such will be realised by attracting investors of large ships globally by building a berth at Kilwa Masoko Port increasing the economy of the Southern Corridor.

“The port will have a state-of-art warehouse which will be used to construct ships  and as a parking area which can accommodate 10 ships of 30 metres at once from any part of the world, something the country had lacked for a long time.

“Availability of the port will enable desalting to be carried out within the country unlike the previous time when ships which had secured licenses within the country’s waters had to secure the process in countries like Seychelles,” he said.

Mr Ulega disclosed that huge business opportunities will be secured, adding that the port will also have a warehouse for making fishing nets, small boats and about 200 canoes to dock.

“The construction of the fishing port will create employment for over 30,000 Tanzanians from Kilwa and elsewhere in the country.

“Two storage facilities of 90 tonnes for frozen fish and 1300 tonnes for chilled fish will be stored at once and a fishing market will be used by fishermen as a special area of processing fish,” he pointed out.

On inviting investors to come and invest into the sector, he said that the port will be operated through a public private partnership (PPP) mechanism.

“We have opened the door for investment of infrastructure to boost the entire value chain of the fishing sector from 50,000 tonnes which is worth 100 million US dollars to 500 million US dollars…we want to obtain FDIs through fisheries,” he said.

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