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LGAs given two-month ultimatum to submit land for investment

LGAs given two-month ultimatum to submit land for investment

THE Government has issued a two-month ultimatum for Local Government Authorities (LGAs) to submit available land for investment in the responsible ministry.

It says, most of LGAs are dragging their feet on completing the entire exercise as a result of hindering efforts to increase domestic and foreign direct investments.

The order was issued by the Minister of State, President’s Office Regional administration and Local Government (PORALG), Mr Innocent Bashungwa here as he was closing the Lake Tanganyika Investment and Business Summit.

He said there will be no more excuses for any further delay for creation of land banks at council and municipal levels.

“The Prime Minister (Mr Kassim Majaliwa) had tasked LGAs to create land banks, and I directed them that the deadline is at the end of June. I know some have not completed the exercise. Please do the needful since we want the areas to be known before the end of June,” noted Mr Bashungwa.

The minister further said that having land banks will make it easier for Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) to direct and advise investors of a suitable area to invest in.

“TIC will be in a better position to know available areas demarcated for investment in every region or district,” Mr Bashungwa said.

On top of that the minister said the government is planning to form a taskforce to oversee the development of the land banks for Export Processing Zones (EPZs) and Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

He said the taskforce will be under coordination of PORALG and the Ministry of Investment, Industry and Trade.

“The idea behind is to involve the private sector in the development of these areas... we want to turn challenges into opportunities,” he told the summit.

In the same vein the government will invite the private sector to own railway wagons, especially on the central corridor under a special agreement in a bid to end wagon shortages. Also is working on increasing the wagon to cut down shortage challenges.

According to Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC), it is facing serious wagons shortage hence impeding cargo movements between Tanzania and DR-Congo through Kigoma Port.

TRC Director of Planning and Investment, Ms Nzeyimana Dyegula told the summit that cargo volume to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through railway has dropped from 17,963 tonnes in 2018/19 to 9,745 tonnes in 2020/2021.

“Kigoma has weekly services, consisting of three freight trains that deliver around 2,400 tonnes of various commodities including cement, building materials, grains, petroleum products,” she said.

DRC businessman, Kilima Baruani, said getting railway wagons from TRC is a biggest headache, since one is allocated five against the demand of 30 wagons, thus increasing delays at Kigoma port.

“We sometimes wait six months to get wagons while we have already purchased cement at Dar. This increases our operation costs unnecessarily,” he said.

Tanzania Port Authority (TPA) Director of Corporate Planning Dr Boniphace Nobeji said on authority after receiving the challenges immediately directed all ports to use a Single Cubic Metre (CBM) data generated from one port.

“There is no logic behind double measuring CBM if one port has already issued one... We will notify all ports to adhere to a single CBM,” said Dr Nobenji who was representing TPA Director General, Mr Erick Hamissi.

During the summit DRC traders complained on irregularities at the Kigoma Port saying officers are double measuring their consignment despite having been measured at Dar or Tanga.

The summit heard a number of other challenges and successful stories from doing business among the four nations surrounded by Lake Tanganyika.

Also some challenges got immediate solutions and others were directed to concerned departments to both sides of the Lake Tanganyika.

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Author: ABDUEL ELINAZA in Kigoma

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