STRATEGIC PROJECTS: Samia goes for healthy borrowing

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has reiterated the government’s plan to continue seeking for loans to finance numerous strategic projects in the country for long-term development.

The Head of State made the remarks on Tuesday at State House, Dar es Salaam during the signing ceremony of a contract for the construction of the 506-kilometer Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) section between Tabora and Kigoma.

“With this contract, the government has invested 10.04 billion US dollars, equivalent to 23.3trl/-, in the Dar-Mwanza and Tabora-Kigoma SGR lines; it should be noted that all of this money is from loans that we received from a variety of sources,” she explained.

President Samia added, “Today and in the future, if we feel it is profitable, we will continue to borrow to construct various projects for sustainable development.”

Ms Samia continued by stating that all loans must be repaid, directing those who are in different positions and are collecting revenue to tighten the screws.

“For instance this month, two loans matured simultaneously and the government was required to pay them all. There were also certificates for significant projects that we were required to pay for as well,” she said.

The President also directed the Ministry for Finance and Planning to ensure they declare publicly and elaborate how the loans have been utilized.

Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) and two Chinese firms signed the contract for the construction of the Tabora-Kigoma lot.

The contract was awarded jointly to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and China Railway Construction Company (CRCC).

President Samia witnessed the signing of the agreement for the construction, which will encompass the construction of 506 kilometres at a cost of 6.34trl/-.

TRC Director General,Masanja Kadogosa stated that the signing completes the central railway from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza and Dar es Salaam to Kigoma, with branch lines to come later.

“With this overall construction of 2102 kilometers, Tanzania has the longest SGR line in Africa, and it becomes the first country holding that record,” he said.

He stated that the SGR will connect the port of Dar es Salaam with DRC through the port of Kigoma, allowing enterprises to reach the three major cities in the DRC with a high population.

“The construction of Tabora-Kigoma has 506 kilometers, we will have 10 stations and two big stations at Uvinza and Katosho,” he said

According to him, the contract’s value is 2.21 billion US dollars without tax, 2.7 billion US dollars with tax, equivalent to 6.34trl/-, and construction is projected to take 48 months.

He added that with the new signing, the government will have invested 10.04 billion US dollars, equivalent to 23.3trl/-, in the Dar-Mwanza and Tabora-Kigoma SGR lines.

Mr Kadogosa said that the government is continuing to purchase SGR equipment, stating that they have purchased 59 passenger wagons, 14 of which have already arrived in the country, 30 wagons and two used locomotives that will come between March and April 2023.

“We had trouble with the initial supplier from Turkey, so we chose to terminate the contract after talking with the government, and we gave it to another company in Germany to continue the work,” he explained.

He added, “Along with the construction of the infrastructure, TRC in collaboration with Tanesco is building an independent electricity line to get reliable electricity,”.

CCECC representative said they have built more than 3,415 kilometres of railway and more than 600 kilometres of highways and employed more than 30,000 employees in Tanzania, which means they have contributed to the economy of Tanzania

From this project, he said they will mobilise and organise all kinds of resources efficiently to ensure it is completed in time with quality.

A CRCC representative said it was a great opportunity to contribute to the railway network in Tanzania.

Construction of the standard gauge railway to link Tanzania with the land-linked neighboring countries is one of the major government’s flagship projects entailed in the Third Five-Year National Development Plan 2021/22 – 2025/26 (FYDP III).

Equally, it will help the country to make optimal use of its strategic geographical location to become a leading regional trade and logistic hub.

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