215bn/- set aside for expansion, renovation of airports

27Jun 2018
Felister Peter
The Guardian
215bn/- set aside for expansion, renovation of airports

THE government plans to construct airports at every region since 215bn/- has been allocated for the expansion and renovation of various airports countrywide in the 2018/19 financial year.

Minister for Works, Transport and Communications, Prof Makame Mbarawa made the revelation in the National Assembly on Monday when responding to a number of issues raised by legislators when contributing to the 2018/19 budget speech.

Prof Mbarawa noted that expansion activities include construction of the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) Terminal 3 in Dar es Salaam. He said the 560bn/- worth project will be completed early next year.

He said the government will also renovate and expand the airports in Sumbawanga, Shinyanga, Musoma and Mtwara. He said the Mtwara airport will be expanded to cover 2.8 kilometres at the cost of 53bn/-.

"We want more people to use air transport as the number of passengers using our aircrafts has reached 4.95 million by March this year,” the minister asserted.

According to the minister the government is determined to ensure that Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) continues to grow. He said plans are underway to purchase two extra aircraft whereby 495bn/- have been set aside for the purpose.

Minister Mbarawa explained that one of the two aircraft made—Bombadier Q400-new generation will be specific for cargo.  He noted that there is high demand for a cargo plane for the Dar es Salaam—Comorro route which most of its passengers are business people.

He said the cargo plane to Comoro will have small reserved space for passengers covering between 50 and 60 seats only.

He said that plans are underway to increase the Dar es Salaam – Dodoma routes from four to five per week. He said the aim is to meet the increasing demand of such services between the two regions.

Meanwhile, Prof Mbarawa explained that construction of the awaited Bagamoyo port is in the offing as talks are now going on between the government, The state-run China Merchants Holdings International (CMHI) and Oman's State General Reserve Fund (SGRF) regarding some components on the contract.

“The Chinese delegation is in the country for some days, we are finalising talks on some issues related to contracts,” he said.

The construction of Bagamoyo port was initiated in 2013 during retired President Jakaya Kikwete’s administration.

He explained that the project which is estimated to cost USD 10 billion will be implemented in three phases. He said the Bagamoyo port will be among the largest Sea gateway in East Africa.

Chinese ambassador to Tanzania Wang Ke was recently quoted saying the project is one of the huge and important projects under the Tanzania-China bilateral cooperation.

The whole project including roads, railways and the economic zone is expected to take 10 years to complete.

The Bagamoyo port would be able to handle mega-ships--with a container vessel size of 8,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) after completion of the first phase.