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Magufuli calls on China to waive Tanzania debts as fifth lot SGR contract is signed

Friday January 08 2021
SGR PIC
By The Citizen Reporter

Chato. Tanzania and China today signed a contract to build the 341 kilometers Standard Gauge Railway by two Chinese companies.

The firms are China Construction Engineering Company and China Railway Construction Company, signaling thawing relations between the two countries over the huge infrastructure project.

 China's earlier interest on the project was cut short when the government went for a Turkish company for the initial construction.

The signing ceremony was attended by Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Chato, Geita Region

The ceremony was also witnessed by several leaders, including ministers, principal secretaries, senior officials from the defense and security agencies as well as guests from China led by Mr Wang.

Speaking after the signing of the contract, the President among other things urged the Chinese government to waive some of Tanzania's debts to China and assist in various projects.

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“The debts include one we incurred during the construction of Tazara worth $15.7 million , then there is one on the TPDF housing scheme worth $137 million – we have since paid $164 million and the last one is the one of Urafiki which is worth $15 million,” said President Magufuli.

President Magufuli asked the Chinese contractors to finish this leg of the project as soon as possible.

 The president was optimistic the contractors will continue with the Isaka-Makutupora lot on a loan basis.

“If possible let the contractors go ahead with the Isaka – Makutopora section on a loan basis so that we can complete the Makutopora-Kigoma section,” said President Magufuli.

  Yesterday, it emerged that companies from 18 countries made bids for the fifth lot of the SGR project when the tender was floated between August and November, 2020.

The Chinese companies won, to follow in the footsteps of Yapi Markez if Turkey who are constructing the first two phases of the SGR from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro and Morogoro  to Makutopora.

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