IRINGA: THE government on Thursday inked a contract worth 60.14bn/- with the Hunan Construction Engineering Group Limited, a China based company to construct the Ipogolo-Kilolo road.
This 33.61 Kilometres long stretch to be constructed at tarmac level, is envisaged to accelerate transport and development in Iringa Region.
The contract was signed by the Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADs) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Engineer Mohammed Besta and the Hunan Construction Engineering Group Limited’s Resident Manager, Mr Shi Wei Wei.
The signing ceremony was graced by the Minister for Works, Mr Innocent Bashungwa, who said the contract signals the government response on citizens’ request of an improved road services to improve transportation of agro produces and movement of people.
Mr Bashungwa said the project is geared towards smooth economic production including farming because Iringa is among the country’s major producers of tea, avocados and timber. He said the project will also enable the products to get in to the market timely.
“We all know that after harvesting tea from the farm the next step is to take it to a factory timely and any delays due to either rough road among others can lessen its quality and price…this road is therefore meant to facilitate produces reach factories and markets in time,” Mr Bashungwa said.
He said improved road networks in Iringa will attract investors and tourist as the region will be easily accessed for inflow and outflow of goods and services.
Furthermore, Mr Bashungwa said the government also eye on widening the Kitonga Hill’s roads to allow smooth movement of vehicles.
Detailing the road project, TANROADs’ CEO, Eng Besta said the project is financed by the government in collaboration with the World Bank (WB) under the programme known as Roads Inclusion and Socio-Economic Opportunities (RISE), which focus on improving road condition in the country.
He urged the contractor to execute the project by observing value for money and complete it in a scheduled time.
For her part, Iringa Regional Commissioner (RC), Ms Halima Dendego commended the government led by President Dr Samia Suluhu Hasan, for allocating the fund for improvement of roads in the region, saying it will boost agribusiness as about 82 per cent of citizens are farmers.
Additionally, Ms Dendego said apart from the amount for the Ipogolo-Kilolo Road construction, the government also continue allocating funds for development of other social services including schools and hospitals, citing that in the 2023/2024 fiscal year, the government has allocated a total of 239b/- for the region.