What Lake Zone road projects mean to EAC economy

WALKING THE TALK: BUILDING A PROSPEROUS TANZANIA

VARIOUS road projects being implemented by the government in the Lake Zone and across the country will have positive results by stimulating economic activities in the East African Community (EAC) nations.

The Minister for Works and Transport, Prof Makame Mbarawa explained that the projects include the Nyamuswa-Bunda-Kisorya to Nansio road while the section involving the 54-kilometres Nyamuswa-Bulamba road had recorded 99 per cent performance.

Tarime-Mugumu road was due for upgrading where the 25-km Tarime-Nyamwaga section had recorded 10 per cent performance and the Nyamuswa-Ikoma Gate road where the section involving the 40-km Sanzate-Nattaroad had   recorded 31 per cent performance.

Minister Mbarawa, who recently witnessed the signing of the 92-km Lusahunga-Rusumo road project to cost a total of 153.564bn/- upon completion, explained that the government was committed to improving most of the border roads to tarmac level.

Speaking after the contract signing, Minister Mbarawa hailed President Samia Suluhu Hassan for implementing people-oriented projects.

“The signing of the contract for Lusahunga-Rusumo road project is a milestone because the road would link four East African Community (EAC) nations, which are Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo-(DRC),” he said.

He explained that during the past four months, the government had already signed road contracts amounting to over 540bn/- across the country. Improved roads enable people to do business.

Kagera Region shares borders with four EAC nations– Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Kenya across Lake Victoria. It is also a gateway to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan.

The distance from Bukoba – Kampala (Uganda) is just 304 km, Bukoba-Bujumbura (Burundi- 355 km), Bukoba-Kigali (Rwanda…462 km), Bukoba to Juba (South Sudan … 928-km), Bukoba – Goma (DRC….617), while Bukoba to Dar es Salaam is almost 1,500-km, he remarked.

The 3.2-km Kigongo-Busisi Bridge and its 1.66-km adjacent roads had to date recorded 67 per cent performance.

Projects under procurement stage include the 50-kms Kyerwa-Omurushaka, Omugakorongo (Karagwe)-Kigarama-Murongo (Kyerwa), Businde-Murongo (53.4-km) and the 25-km Kagera Sugar Junction (Misssenyi) – Kitengure (Karagwe) Junction.

The 54.4-km Sengerema-Nyehunge road and the 150-metre Simiyu Bridge with the 3-km adjacent roads are due for upgrading.

Other projects under procurement stage include the 20.5-km Sungusila-Nzela to Nkome road and Nkome Ferry Ramp and the 48.2-km Nyamongo-Mugumu road.

The 120-km Bugene (Karagwe)-Burigi Chato to Kasulo (Ngara) road project to cost a total of 109bn/- upon completion was under implementation, where a section involving 60-km Bugene-Burigi National Park had todate recorded 15 per cent performance.

Prof Mbarawa tasked Engineers under Tanzania National Roads Agency (Tanroads) to closely supervise the contractors to ensure value for money.

He appealed to Tanzanians where such projects were being implemented across the country to be diligent and should avoid thefts of equipment and fuel and vandalising for their own benefit   and future generations.

The Third Five Year-Development Plan (FYDP III 2021/22 to 2025/26) has placed priority in taking comparative advantage of the geography and size of the country to enhance competitiveness.

The country’s total road network currently comprises of 91,049 km of roads of which, 33,012 km are national roads (12,786 km are categorised as trunk roads, 20,226 km as regional roads) and the remaining 58,037 km as district, urban and feeder roads.

Despite the huge potential available, existing infrastructural deficiencies inhibit Tanzania’s ability to leverage its comparative advantage by acting as a bridge economy that links the EAC and Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional markets, or realise its enormous potential as a logistics hub, linking the markets of the EAC and SADC regional trading blocs.

Tanzania is therefore, an ideal location for investments in market-seeking industries that target the emerging African markets in EAC and SADC.

However, according to FYDP III, the challenges besetting the infrastructural sector in Tanzania extend beyond road and transport to unlock Tanzania’s infrastructural potential to attract all sorts of manufacturing and processing industries, the document suggested for a need to hasten implementation of various projects which included complete construction of 2,500 km of paved roads, construct 6,006 km of paved roads, begin construction of 14 bridges and complete construction of seven bridges.

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