After witnessing the signing of an agreement for the construction of the fourth lot of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Tabora to Isaka (165km) priced at $900.1m (2.09trn/-), the president said the two legislations erect walls on investors seeking to put up investment projects due to delays by government officials in making decisions, part of a wider web of unnecessary bureaucracy.
The Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) director general Masanja Kadogosa signed the accord with the director of Yapi Merkez of Turkey at the State House in Dar es Salaam, while another agreement was signed between TRC and Korea Railways for capacity building of local experts for smooth and sustainable supervision of SGR operations.
Lack of rapid decisions on investment projects was among major issues scaring numerous potential investors, she stated, insisting that this situation should not be entertained, also directing the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) to exercise greater creativity to propel rapid clearing of goods.
“I am not satisfied with operations at the port,” she said, pointing out that the port was not doing well in the area of ICT. “There is bureaucracy here and I want this to change, our ports need to operate efficiently so as to attract more customers and increase revenues,” she emphasized.
If well operated, the Dar es Salaam port can generate half of the country’s total budgetary funds, the president underlined.
In a competitive world fuelled by development of technology and innovation, Tanzania needs to cope with the changes so as to benefit from various economic opportunities, she stated.
Construction of the first phase of the SGR from Dar es Salam to Mwanza cost a total of 16.7trn/-, with the railway expected to ease transport of goods and passengers from Dar es Salaam through Coast region, Morogoro, Dodoma, Singida, Tabora, Simiyu, Shinyanga and Mwanza. It will also connect Tanzania with Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and implicitly South Sudan, and later other African countries, she elaborated.
“Our aim is to make Dar es Salaam a major commercial hub in Africa and making Mwanza a business hub for the Lake Victoria zone,” she said, noting that Tabora was also a growing commercial hub.
The government was implementing several strategic projects and initiatives to achieve development goals, as once SGR operations begin, it will take 2.5 hours to move from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma and eight hours to reach Mwanza, enabling people to conduct business smoothly, as travel costs will also be reduced by 40 per cent.
The government will continue looking at the best ways to obtain concessional loans to finance strategic projects, she said, while Works and Transport minister Prof Makame Mbarawa said that negotiations for the fourth lot of the SGR project took four months, as the government was seeking to ensure it obtains the right value for the money expended.
The TRC director signed two agreements, one for the Tabora-Isaka SGR line and another for training for operating the railway, meanwhile as the Dar es Salaam-Morogoro portion had been fully completed, and the Morogoro to Makutopora section is expected to be finished by February next year.
The government has procured 1,430 cargo wagons from China, 17 new train heads and 59 passenger wagons from South Korea. They will start to enter the country by end of this year, he said.
The Tabora-Isaka railway portion will take three and a half years to build, which includes an operational trial period, he added.