Dar es Salaam. Operationalisation of the new international bus terminal at Mbezi Louis in Dar es Salaam is not yet clear as the date originally slated for this, November 30, 2020, passed yesterday without any signs of the facility going on-stream.
Construction of the modern Mbezi Bus Terminal is still in progress while traders showed up at the place to see if they could start businesses as initially projected.
A number of traders who applied for business slots arrived at the project site to determine the fate of their applications.
Project contractors Hainan International Limited was given an ultimatum by State President John Magufuli in October this year to finish the project by October 30 after he raised concerns about the slow speed at which the terminal was being constructed.
The Citizen visited the Sh71 billion project site and found that construction was still ongoing yesterday.
Workers were continuing with putting finishing touches to some of the buildings, while several others were busy outside the terminal, preparing for the construction of incoming and exit roads.
Asked about progress of the project, and exactly when the terminal would be open for business, the Dar es salaam Regional Commissioner, Aboubakar Kunenge, said the authorities made sure that the work was being done day and night, and that by evening yesterday, they would assess its update - and later issue a statement on it.
“We were directed by the President to ensure that, by today at the latest, the facility should be ready for operations - and if that didn’t happen, he ordered us to start deducting from the sum to be paid to the contractor for delaying the project,” he said.
A number of traders who had applied for business slots at the terminal came to the site to see if the terminal would be open for business as per the President deadline. In the event, they had mixed feelings.
Sofia Mwinyi, a trader from the Gongola Mboto area, said “We knew that today the terminal would be opened, so we came here ready to be allocated trading slots and prepare to start trading.”
When completed, the bus terminal would have the capacity to accommodate 700 buses and 80 small vehicles as a go. It would also have outside parking capacity for 1,000 vehicles.
Commuters and traders stand to benefit considerably from the facility.
Another trader, Hamisi Ally, told The Citizen that the terminal would create more business opportunities for traders due to the large movement of people.
“There are considerable opportunities here, and that is why we applied for trading space. We came here to see what is the next step for us who want to do business in the place,” he said.
From November 9 to 25 this year, the government invited people with business interests, to apply for such opportunities include slots for booking offices, banking, telecommunications, and dispensary, laboratory and pharmaceutical services.
Other services include canteen, fast food, bar, soft drinks spots and spaces for small and medium businesses.
Ms Upendo Mwankenja, a Mbezi resident and a disabled person, applauded the government for the construction of the terminal and urged that priority should be given for people in the special groups such as women and the disabled.