Friday, May 20, 2016
Roads and Railways construction projects to be given first priority
THE National Assembly on Wednesday this week approved 4.9bn/- budget for the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication for the 2016/2017 financial year, with the promise that massive improvement of infrastructure will continue to be given priority. Winding up his ministry’s 2016/17 budgets estimates, Minister Makame Mbarawa said construction of a Central Railway Line at a standard gauge project was a reality and will be carried out effectively. “We are fully aware that our roads will not last without setting up a reliable railway network, that is why the Fifth Phase Government is committed to constructing the central railway line to a standard gauge,” he said. However, he said, to construct a 2,527-kilometre railway line, the government needs 8 billion US dollars (about 16tn/-), which he said was enormous and no country in the world could be ready to offer a concession loan to carry out the project.
Minister for Works, Transport and Communication Professor Makame Mbarawa
“The former president, Jakaya Kikwete, and I took the initiative to visit China recently to seek a loan but the Chinese government advised us to break the project into phases,” he said. He added that through its own sources, they have decided to start with a 1tn/- project from Dar es Salaam to Ruvu in the next fiscal year. “We have already formed a technical team for this project and later, a tender will be floated,” said the minister. The minister also said that withdrawal of US government support through the Millennium Challenge Cooperation (MCC) programme has not affected road projects that are being undertaken by the government. He thanked President John Magufuli for his continued support and commitment to see to it that the country’s infrastructure is transformed. The minister revealed to the august House that, since coming into power almost six months ago, President Magufuli’s Fifth Phase Government has already disbursed 1tn/- to his ministry to finance various projects. On Tuesday this week, the ministry unveiled a massive 4.9tn/-, for flagship infrastructure development in the next 2016/2017 fiscal year, out of the amount, a sum of 2.2tn/- is for works sector, 2.6tn/- for transport sector and remaining 96bn/- for communication sector. Prof. Mbarawa said from the 2.2tn/- set aside for works sector, a total of 400bn/- will be used to pay outstanding dues the government owes various contractors and consulting engineers, while the remaining 1.8bn/- will be spent on construction of roads. Clarifying on the loss of 5.6bn/- as a result of delay to pay contractors and consultant engineers, which is said to have accumulated from interest rates from 2011 to 2015, Prof. Mbarawa admitted that it was true but said it was due to lack of funds to clear the debt on time.