He made the remarks at a prayer event for the nation and specifically for President Samia Suluhu Hassan at Mwakibuga village in Bariadi District, remarking that the modern railway will last for a long time to benefit current and coming generations.
Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya and Morocco among African countries that have built modern railways, while analysts say that the Chinese-built SGR project in Kenya cost nearly twice in dollars per kilometer as compared to Tanzania.
The government recently signed a new tender agreement with a Turkish firm for contracts to build the 294-kilometer section of the railway from Makutupora to Tabora, the third portion of the Dar es Salaam-Mwanza line.
The Dar es Salaam-Morogoro portion was now 95-percent complete, the Morogoro- Makutupora portion reaching 75-percent completion and work is to start on the newly signed Makutupora –Tabora part, after which the Tabora –Mwanza portion will follow, whose contractual papers are now being processed, he said.
The government will next month sign contracts for starting work on the Tabora-Mwanza section, as the tendering process arrives at a conclusion, he remarked.
Earlier, in his sermon at the prayer session, Padre Izengo Albert of Old Maswa Church said the railway will spur development for the nation as well as open up investment opportunities.
“It is our hope that the modern railway, once completed will open up economic boundaries and our people will immensely benefit from it. Hence we should pray for the completion of the project entrusted to TRC,” he said.
Simiyu Regional Commissioner David Kafulila said electric trains have been a dream for the past half-century, “so the SGR is something to be proud of, and the government must be praised for it,” urging Tanzanians to continue economic uplift initiatives and support President Samia’s efforts.
Speaking at the signing of the SGR Phase III contracts, the president defended the government’s borrowing trend saying it was the only way to fast track development.
She said she will seek more concessional loans for infrastructure projects, use every means including borrowing to ensure strategic projects started by her predecessor are completed on time.
“I have noticed there are efforts to discourage us from seeking loans. Even developed countries borrowed and managed to do what they have done. We cannot use levies to carry out huge projects like SGR; it will take time so we will borrow,” she added.