Saturday, May 25, 2013

EA Ministry to concentrate on regional economic infrastructure development

THE Minister for East African Cooperation Samwel Sitta yesterday tabled in Parliament his ministry’s budget estimates for the year 2013/14 promising to continue giving priority among other development plans in areas of economic infrastructure development that links Tanzania with other five member states. He told the house that, construction and improvements of transport infrastructure particularly ports, railways networks airports, energy, marine and roads projects are among the priorities for Tanzania in the integration of the East African Community (EAC). According to him, the ministry will continue to coordinate the implementation of the national projects which have been approved that included the regional infrastructure development as already planned. Among the projects he mentioned the details of the design study of the much awaited Isaka-Kigali/Keza to Musongati railway network linking Tanzania with Rwanda and Burundi has been completed and is awaiting construction to go through. In line of the EAC regional infrastructure development strategy, the Heads of State approved regional infrastructure priority projects of regional importance in November 2012 and for Tanzania the projects includes construction and rehabilitation of central railway line to standard gauge that links Tanzania and Rwanda and Burundi. Others are from Voi-Teveta-Holili-Moshi-Arusha railway line to link Tanzania and Kenya, Tanga-Arusha-Musoma railway line and the development of Mtwara-Mbamba Bay railway. The signing favors Tanzania to effectively utilize her strategic geographical location. Geographically, the minister noted that, Tanzania borders with all East Africa Community partner states, some of which have no direct access to the sea. The development of ports will enable the country to fully utilize its potential. In view of this, the Minister outlined projects such as to increase the depth of berth No.  1-7 at Dar e salaam port, and the construction of new berths No. 13-14. The construction of Maruhumbi port in Zanzibar as well as construction of the dry dock and roll in roll off between ports of Dar es Salaam, Pemba, and Tanga. He further noted the maintenance of inland waterways, ports in the Great Lakes of Victoria and Tanganyika. All these projects would enable Tanzania to link its economic developments with member states. In road projects the minister has outlined construction of Tunduma-Sumbawanga-Mpanda-Kigoma road which links Tanzania with Burundi and Rwanda, another one is Nyanguge-Musoma-Sirare road which links Tanzania with Kenya and Uganda. Rehabilitation of the main roads such as Morogoro and Nelson Mandela in the city of Dar es Salaam will help reduce the congestion at Dar es Salaam port. Others are the planned Banana-Tangi Bovu, and the expansion of Morogoro road. In the energy development projects, the ministry will concentrate on the power generation and distribution at river Rusumo Waterfalls which h will benefit Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. In view of the development of the energy, he said that, the EAC partner states have finalized a feasibility study for the power interconnectivity of the Tanzania national grid to Kenya from Singida via Isanya (Kenya)passing through Ariusha and Namanga border post as part of the implementation of the main power line project for Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya. He said his ministry has continued to coordinate the discussion that will enable the implementation of various agreements for the establishment of Murongo/Kikagati power generation project which is expected to generate 16 megawatts. Furthermore, he said that, the ministry in collaboration with the stakeholders coordinated and participated in the 6th EAC Petroleum Conference held in February 2013 in Arusha attracted more than 900 companies and stakeholders from different parts of the world involved in mineral, gas and oil exploration. “This enabled partner states including Tanzania to showcase available investment opportunities in these important sectors’. He said.   In the development of the aviation sector, the ministry will continue to participate in the preparation of cheaper navigation systems framework based on the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). The GNSS framework will be applied at international and national airports in the partner states. The preparation of the framework is expected to be completed this 2013/14 financial year. Moreover, the ministry continued to coordinate and participate in the negotiations for the establishment of regional frameworks for aircraft accidents and incidents investigations. However, he told the house to approve and grant it to spend at least Sh. 20.4 bn/ for his ministry for the year 2013/14. Out of the money, he said Sh.19 bn will be directed for other charges while Sh. 1.4 bn/ is for personal emoluments. This is an increased of 23 percent from the previous 16.6 bn/. 26 bn.

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