The government is working on modalities to set up the Dar es Salaam Urban Transport Authority (DUTA) in an effort to address road traffic congestion.
Transport experts say traffic congestion in the city is now viewed as a national issue after it was established that billions of dollars are wasted due to the ever increasing time spent on travel from one point to another and rising vehicle operating costs.
Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government Jumanne Sagini revealed this yesterday in the city while winding up the Fourth Joint Coordinating Committee on Capacity Building Project for the Implementation of Dar es Salaam Transport.
The committee has been organised by the government in cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The PS said the government is currently working on a draft Act for DUTA after completion of Dar es Salaam Urban Transport Policy draft and the concept and structure of Dar es Salaam Urban Transport Authority (DUTA).
“Once the DUTA is established the current institutional arrangement, including the secretariat and steering committee will be absorbed into the authority,” he said.
“These are notable achievements that the country has attained since the adoption of the two-year project that commenced in December 2010…,” he said.
He added: “Traffic congestion in Dar results into increasing freight costs, as all cargoes to neighbouring cities and countries pass through Dar es Salaam port thus hindering regional and national economic growth,” the PS noted.
Detailing the implementation of the DUTA project, Dar es Salaam City Council’s engineer Mussa Natty said for decades, roads built in the city have been operating without a specific overseeing authority.
He said there are many agencies that include the city council, Tanzania Roads Agency (Tanroads) or rather the Ministry of Work or Ministry of Transport that are all entitled to oversee the transport system in Dar es Salaam.
“One among the recommendations of the report and the team of experts is to engineer the establishment of DUTA as part of the strategy to respond towards traffic congestion in Dar es Salaam,” he said.
For his part, Ven Ndyamukama, Assistance Director for Urban Roads in the Ministry of Works expressing government commitment towards reducing traffic congestion said after the meeting, the government would look into how it could secure the required funds to finance implementation of the project.
The strategy to do away with congestion will start next year by reworking the Central Business Districts roads.
On the report presented by the team of experts and secretariat, the director said some key areas that include the current width of roads, one circle-ended route, insufficient car parking and junctions strongly contributed to traffic congestion in the city.
In his remarks JICA senior representative Tanzania office Hajime Iwama said the Japanese government has received an official request for the next phase of the DUTA project.
He said his government is now in discussion on the request…but “we JICA, the organisation that implements Japanese Official Development Assistance are ready to continuously support the Tanzania government plan to wrestle the problem of traffic congestions in Dar es Salaam.”
Given that the city is a gateway to the Indian Ocean, the officer said, the issue of congestion remains critical from the economic development viewpoint, not only for Tanzania, but also for her neighbours such as Burundi, Rwanda, Zambia and DRC.