Dodoma. The planned Bagamoyo Port found its way into the National Assembly once again yesterday, with Speaker Job Ndugai asking the government to explain why it was dilly dallying in executing the project despite the fact that Chinese investors were willing to finance it.
But in response, the Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Mr Isack Kamwelwe, said negotiations between the government and investors from China and Oman were still going on. He said the government has not suspended the project, insisting that discussions were still ongoing and that an official statement would be issued as soon as an agreement is reached.
“What I have learnt from this August House is that legislators would want to see the government hastening the pace at which negotiations are conducted…The negotiations are still ongoing . They have been delayed due to the fact that some of the conditions being advanced by the investors are not acceptable to the government,” he said.
He did not reveal some of those conditions.
What is known, however, is the fact that since the port is to be built under the build, own, operate, transfer (BOOT) model, the investors will have to construct, own and run the project for an agreed period before transferring it to the government.
The period in which the investors will be given to run the facility and the transparency associated with the process as they (the investors) recoup their money will have to be agreed upon by both parties.
It is also said that some conditions have to do with baring the government from making any other new port development plan within its coastal waters for a period of time to be agreed.
Mr Ndugai directed the government to explain on what was going on with the Bagamoyo Port following the views of a number of MPs who, at different times, questioned the halting of the project when debating the Sh4.9 trillion budget for the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communications for the financial year 2019/20.
Rufiji MP Mohamed Mchengelwa (CCM) had asked the Speaker to form a committee to investigate the construction of the port and its suspension with several others expressing dissatisfaction with the development.
Mr Ndugai asked Mr Kamwelwe to give the explanation in the evening when he is done with his ministry’s budget debate.
In November 2017, Oman’s State General Reserve Fund (SGRF) announced that the Bagamoyo project was going ahead, saying it consisted of the construction of a maritime port built to international standards and would be developed in phases.
According to SGRF, the first phase will include four marine berths, two of which will be allocated to containers, one for multiple uses, and another for support services.
However, the timeline of the port’s construction remains unclear.
The project, which was well pronounced during the late days of former President Jakaya Kikwete, was initially signed in 2013 during an event that was witnessed by Chinese president, Xi Jinping.
Since then, there has been a change of focus, with most of the efforts being directed towards rehabilitation of ports of Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mtwara.