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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Urban planners challenged to eliminate costly congestion

28th February 2012

Urban planners in the country’s growing towns have been challenged to ensure that they build infrastructures which would eliminate traffic congestion so as to save the income eaten up by traffic jams.

This was said on Friday in Dar es Salaam, by transport stakeholders when discussing the challenges facing the development of the sector.

One of the stakeholders, Joel Mtatiro, said there has been increased traffic congestion in the country’s major cities like Dar es Salaam leading to chaos on the roads.

“I urge urban planners in the growing towns to make sure that they put into practice organised infrastructures that would ensure that the problem of congestion is solved once and for all,” he said.

The transportation sector in Tanzania, he said, faces many factors.

They include poor planning, increasing number of vehicles, concentration of major commercial and government services in city centres and the poor conditions of feeder roads.

A survey conducted by the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) in 2010 established that traffic jams eat up to 20 per cent of annual profits of most businesses.

While the problem of congestion affects all sectors of the economy, companies that deal with the supply goods constantly find it hard to timely make deliveries, incurring extra costs in the process.

Unlike in the past, traffic jams are currently experienced in most major cities almost at all times of the day with the situation worsening whenever there are downpours or an accident.

The Chief Executive officer of the Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit (Dart), Cosmas Takule, was last year quoted saying businesses and other institutions incur about 4bn/- in loss every day in Dar es Salaam city due to persistent traffic jams.

The loss is mainly incurred through decreased productivity as workers and entrepreneurs report late at work or miss appointments, fuel wastage, and late delivery of mechandise. Besides, there is environmental pollution which causes diseases such as cancer which cost huge sums of money to treat.

Experts say the losses have a direct bearing on the national economy considering the fact that Dar es Salaam, the most populous city in the country, generates about 70 per cent of all government’s revenue.

The losses caused by traffic jams, according to CTI director of Policy and Research Hussein Kamote, are so far immensurable but they affect the whole economy and hence erode the competitiveness of Tanzania in the region.

He said the effects of traffic jams in Dar es Salaam clearly make Tanzania’s economy uncompetitive as the congestion has a huge bearing on the cost of doing business in the country.

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