Central Bank chief defends 30bn/-Mwanza branch office

20Mar 2017
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Central Bank chief defends 30bn/-Mwanza branch office

A 30bn/- Bank of Tanzania branch office in Mwanza is worth every penny because it is a special type of building with underground money storage strong rooms and sophisticated security system.

Professor Benno Ndulu

Bank of Tanzania Governor Professor Benno Ndulu said the building’s price has not been inflated as critics say because the structure does not resemble ordinary buildings. “This is a complicated building because it’s a facility to keep money,” Prof Ndulu said in an emailed statement.

Later, the BoT Public Relations and Protocol Department Office issued a statement further clarifying on the subject. The statement stated that the building’s concrete frame which is 45 percent done.

“The concrete (structural) frame of the project is expected to be completed in mid-March 2017. Thereafter, the contractor will proceed with finishing work and installation of services. The contractor is expected to hand over the completed project to the Bank of Tanzania in December 2017,” the statement added.

Explaining of the hiked construction costs, the statement said, “Unlike normal construction projects, including those referred in your question; construction of a central bank building (the world-over) is a special construction activity. The Bank of Tanzania Mwanza branch is also a special project, which comprises of three main construction features.”

It named the features as including: strong rooms (basement), office building and security, fire-fighting, information technology and banking facilities.

“The large part of the building is the underground (basement) where strong rooms are located. Though the project is still under early construction stages, it is estimated that the final project cost will be approximately equal for the three main features as named above,” the BoT statement stressed.

It’s the second time since 2014 for BoT to come out in defence of the Chinese contractor which was also accused of non payment of taxes and failure to respect company registration requirements before winning the tender.

China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) won the competitive bidding tender in 2014 but immediately came under fire for violating the country's regulations relating to tax compliance and filing of annual returns with Business Registration and Licensing Agency.

"After the allegations were made we inquiry with TRA and BRELA which cleared the company," argued BoT Secretary to Tender Board, Robert Wanga then.

Wanga said before awarding CCECC the tender, the Central Bank sought clearance from Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and BRELA.

"TRA confirmed that the firm is among their large taxpayer while BRELA cleared them after paying all their outstanding dues," Wanga stressed while noting that although CCECC's BRELA records were tainted, the tender conditions did not include such an element.