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Friday, April 8, 2016

Govt outlines plans for infrastructure overhaul

  • Six-lane roadways, fly-overs and standard gauge railways in the offing as President Magufuli goes about tackling road congestion and boosting regional trade.
  • PRESIDENT John Magufuli's administration has unveiled its blueprint for a radical overhaul of the country's infrastructure, including the construction of standard-gauge railway lines,multi-lane roadways,and strategic bridges that could potentially transform Tanzania into a regional transport hub

Among the infrastructural projects earmarked in the government's ambitious 2016/17 national development plan is a major scheme to build new six-lane roads and flyovers in Dar es Salaam to ease the city's crippling road congestion problem.

The grand plan seen by The Guardian yesterday also puts an emphasis on the expansion and upgrading of Dar es Salaam’s port area and main airport, along with similar key infrastructure across the country.

The government is figuring to finance the projects by borrowing $800 million from international financial markets, and is also considering issuing an infrastructure bond.The Ministry of Finance and Planning released the new development plan this week as part of its draft 2016/17 budget proposals where the government is targeting to spend a total of 29.53 trillion/-.

The plan is the clearest-yet indication of the Magufuli government’s spending plans over the next year, spelling out how the state intends to ramp up public investment in a modern railway, better roads, and a more reliable electricity supply system.

According to the finance ministry’s proposals, a total of 11.82 trillion/- - equivalent to 40 per cent of the entire budget – has been set aside for this kind of development expenditure during 2016/17.

President Magufuli built a well-earned reputation as a leader who likes to get things done and the nickname ‘tingatinga’ - Kiswahili for bulldozer - in his previous stint as minister of works.

The new plan follows the conclusion of the previous, five-year government development blueprint (2011/12-2015/16) that was expected to cost 44.5 trillion/-.

It will seek to capitalize on the country’s long Indian Ocean coastline by upgrading support transportation facilities that will make it accessible to the economies of land-locked neighboring countruies from Uganda in the north to Malawi down south.

Tanzania and northern neighbours Kenya have for years been in competition for political and economic influence in the region, although both are members of the five-nation East African Community (EAC) trading bloc.

The two countries are currently locked in a fierce tug-of-war over the route of a proposed, potentially lucrative crude oil pipeline from Uganda to the Indian Ocean.

As part of its efforts to reduce Dar es Salaam's notorious traffic congestion, the Magufuli administration plans to build, expand and rehabilitate some 111.85 kilometres of roadways in the rapidly-growing city.

About 64.3bn/- has been allocated during 2016/17 to fix a dozen different roads in Dar es Salaam to tackle the congestion problem.

The projects also involve construction of a fly-over at the TAZARA intersection in Dar es Salaam and the expansion of the infrastructure from the proposed by-pass to the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) by the construction of a six-lane roadway.

The government will allocate 73.6 billion/- in the 2016/17 budget for the six-lane road project, according to the national development plan.

Over 32 billion/- will be spent in 2016/17 for the construction of the TAZARA fly-over at the junctions of Mandela and Nyerere highways by a Japanese firm, Sumitomo Mitsui construction Company Limited.

Another fly-over at Ubungo area at the junctions of Morogoro and Mandela/Sam Nujoma roads will be built, with close to 40 billion/- set aside in the upcoming fiscal year for payment of compensation and the start of actual construction projects.

The government also plans to conclude construction of the Kigamboni bridge and build a new bridge Selander bridge in Dar es Salaam.

The state has also set aside funds for the expansion of the ports of Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mtwara and the construction of the Bagamoyoro port as well as the ongoing Terminal III project at the Dar es Salaam airport.

Major trade infrastructure road projects to be constructed include Itoni-Mkiu-Ludewa-Manda (211km), Tabora-Ipole-Koga-Mpanda (359km), Mbeya-Mkiwa (528km), Manyoni-Tabora (264km), Dodoma-Babati (261km), Iringa-Dodoma (260km), Makutano-Mto wa Mbu (328km) and Sumbawanga-Nyakanazi (346.6km).

On railway infrastructure, the government will spend 186.66 billion/- in 2016/17 to build 283km of standard gauge rail in the central railway line between the Dar-Kilosa and Tabora-Isaka stretches.

The government will also rehabilitate and buy new locomotives and wagons for the Tanzania Railways Limited (TRL).

Plans also underway to improve railway passenger services for Dar es Salaam residents by rehabilitating the railway network within the city.


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