Responding to a query raised by the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Infrastructure yesterday, the Minister for Works, Transport and Communications Isack Kamwelwe said the crackdown executed by the Tanzania Building Agency (TBA) was sanctioned at the ministerial level.
Apart from holders of political leaders, other debtors include government institutions and civil servants in ministerial departments and agencies.
“The ministry has decided to embark on evictions because unpaid rent now stands at over 20bn/-. If we don’t take action, the agency will fail to undertake its functions and finally collapse,” he asserted.
The committee sought to know the position of the government regarding evictions being undertaken by TBA as it falls under Kamwele’s docket.
The crackdown will be carried out in accordance with the law, as only defaulters will be kicked out, he stated.
Speaking to reporters during the start of the operation, acting TBA Manager for Dodoma Region said debtors, including serving and retired public officials, owed the agency 1.5bn/- in the region alone.
In the financial year 2018/19, TBA collected 19bn/- and projects to collect a massive sum of 114bn/- in the 2019/20 fiscal year, the minister intoned.
Parliamentary committee chairman Selemani Kakoso (Mpanda Rural-CCM) said the ministry and TBA were tough in collecting rent without improving the quality of government buildings.
He also recommended that the government considers giving TBA an emergency fund to complete some of its installed projects.
In March this year, President John Magufuli ordered the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) to take over the Ukonga Prison Housing project after failure by the TBA to complete it on time.
President Magufuli gave the order after he made a surprise visit to the prison wardens housing project.
Clearly disappointed, the president inquired from TBA officials present on site why there was not much progress in the project.
“I do not want to see any TBA personnel here, nor any Prisons Department official. Let the army take over the project to its completion,” he ordered, affirming also that he would seek a report on how the Sh10 billion that the government released for the project was spent.
Giving a report on the building sector earlier, Deputy Minister Elias Kwandikwa said compensation for people whose land is being taken over for construction of various infrastructure projects was going on well.
“We have already received 5.7bn/- to be used in compensating those vacating land to pave way for Msalato International Airport here in Dodoma,” he pointed out.