Speaking while laying the foundation stone for the ongoing eight-lane,19.2-kilometre highway expansion project along Morogoro Road from Kimara to Kibaha Maili Moja in Coast region, Magufuli described the project as ushering in a new era of commercial prosperity in Dar es Salaam.
“It has never happened in history for the government to set aside such a large amount of funds just for Dar es Salaam... we want to make Tanzania the best and this is just the beginning,” the president stated.
He said his administration is determined to ensure that traffic jams become a thing of the past in Dar es Salaam, with many other similar road expansion and road networking projects in the pipeline.
The event was attended by a mixed bag of senior government officials including the Speaker of the National Assembly, Job Ndugai, and Works Minister Isack Kamwelwe.
Magufuli also used the opportunity to forcefully reiterate that there will be no compensation packages for people whose houses were demolished to pave way for the project because they were invaders of a designated road reserve area from the outset.
“If you invade road reserves to build your houses, you are actually inviting trouble and poverty, because the law is clear and we are all here to respect the law,” he asserted.
The president’s clarification on the highly sensitive matter was in response to a request by Kibamba member of parliament John Mnyika (CHADEMA) for the government to reconsider the compensation issue surrounding the project.
Earlier, Tanzania Roads Agency (TANROADS) chief executive officer Patrick Mfugale had explained that the 140 billion/- project is expected to be completed by January 2020, the contractors being Estim Construction company under TANROADS supervision.
He said bridges will be erected at Kibamba, Kiluvya and Mpiji areas. The project is currently at 5.8 per cent completion level, he added.
Funding for the project is said to have come from government own sources. At least 2,000 buildings, including residential homes, were demolished to make way for the project.
Morogoro Road is the recognised main road gateway to the city of Dar es Salaam, with a population of over five million people, and dreaded traffic snarl-ups along the route - particularly during rush-hour times - often bring business to a standstill.
The TAZARA flyover, Kigamboni bridge, and Rapid Bus project are three significant pointers to reaching the goal of reducing untold suffering among motorists and commuters alike in the city.
According to Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) estimates, traffic jams are a direct cause of up to 20 per cent of annual profit losses for most businesses in the city.