Construction of African postal union HQ to start soon

29Mar 2016
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Construction of African postal union HQ to start soon

CONSTRUCTION of the long-awaited headquarters for Pan African Postal Union (Papu) is set to kick-off before the end of this year, a senior official of the Africa’s body for postal services has said.

PAPU Senior official said recently in Arusha that the multi-million dollar project has been delayed because a foreign consultant hired for the job was later disqualified and that another one had to be appointed outside the country.

He added that the proposed 12-storey PAPU headquarters building would be undertaken as a joint venture between the organization and the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) and would cost about US$20 million.

The construction site will be Phillips area along the Moshi highway and adjacent to the Mt Meru Hotel. This is the spot where Papu has its current offices which will be demolished anytime from May this year to pave way for the construction of the new headquarters.

Another official has hinted that during the construction period Papu would relocate to the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) which has ample office space following the recent closing down of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the East African Community (EAC).

News about the stalled headquarter project came after President John Pombe Magufuli urged Papu, a continental body established more than 30 years ago with its seat in Arusha, for the speeding of the project in order to cut down costs.

The new seat for the organization should, among other facilities, have conference rooms which can save the money now spent on renting meeting venues.

The president's plea was conveyed to the organization early last week by the deputy minister for Works, Transport and Communications Eng. Edwin Ngonyani during a workshop on quality service, supply chain and product development organized for the postal sector at an Arusha hotel.

"The president has been informed of this event and was interested to know as to when Papu would have its permanent headquarters complete with conference facilities.

This would save money spent on renting meeting halls", the deputy minister told postal officials from English-speaking African countries.

Eng. Ngonyani said Tanzania was privileged to host the pan African institution which was established in January 1980 after a postal conference held in Arusha.

However, he said, it was a pity that the organization has not yet constructed its permanent headquarters as was the case for other regional bodies based in Arusha, noting that this was adding to the operational costs through hiring of conference rooms in hotels and other institutions.

"Papu should have its headquarters like other international organizations complete with free interpretation facilities. This is the case for most world bodies based in Geneva such as UNCTAD and the UN organizations.

Early this month, President Magufuli took his anti-cost cutting drive to the Arusha-based East African Community (EAC) Secretariat when he announced he would take to task officials suspected to be behind extravagant expenditure or embezzlement of funds.

He also queried why the recent EAC Heads of State Summit was held at the privately-owned Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge outside the city which is deemed more expensive than the AICC, a government parastatal and incidentally a property of the former EAC which collapsed in 1977.

Papu, a specialized agency of the African Union (AU), was formed on January 18th, 1980 in Arusha where its headquarters has been located ever since. It is one of several regional and continental inter-governmental bodies based here.

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