Dar es Salaam. President Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday outlined the government’s major plans to make Mwanza a trade hub within the Great Lake Regions.
The move will come after completing implementation of infrastructure development including the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), construction of an airport terminal in the city as well as strengthened marine transport in Lake Victoria.
President Hassan said, today, she will witness the signing of five contracts worth Sh438.84 billion projects for construction and rehabilitation of ships that will be plying on Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika and the Indian Ocean.
She outlined the government’s strategies in Mwanza during the launching of the 341 kilometre Mwanza-Isaka SGR Project, worth Sh3.1 trillion.
Speaking during the event, she said after the infrastructure projects are completed, commodities will be made accessible at the city to surmount the inconvenience of traders of neighbouring countries from travelling to Dar es Salaam. “Traders will procure commodities in the city and travel back to their respective countries. This will make us proud and business competitive among the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) member states,” she said.
According to her, the government carried out an analysis and discovered that the country only needs to slightly tighten its belt to realise the said endeavour. She said among the contracts that will be signed today will consist of the construction of a new ship with the capacity of 3,000 tonnes of cargo as well as rehabilitation of the MV Umoja with a tonnage capacity of 1,200 tonnes. Both ships will ply on the Lake Victoria.
Regarding the SGR trials, the Head of State said locomotives that will be used for trials will arrive in the country in December 2021 and that the second lot of operation engines and coaches will be in the country not later than December next year.
“Since the SGR will be operated through electricity, the government is implementing a Sh6.5 trillion Julius Nyerere Hydropower Project (JNHPP) to produce 2115 MW that has reached 51.2 percent,” he said.
She said the conclusion of the SGR project will reduce costs of transport and transportation by 40 percent, create 11,000 jobs and reduce travel time between Mwanza and Dar es Salaam from 17 hours to eight hours.
She said reduced costs of production will reduce prices of commodities, increase volumes of transported cargo, noting that an average of 15,000 tonnes to 25,000 tonnes to be transported by railway was equivalent to 200 to 310 lorries or semi trailers. She asked citizens in lake zone regions tap economic opportunity potentials following the implementation of the projects that include the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) Lake Zone and the 3.2 kilometer John Magufuli Bridge intended to link the Kigongo and Busisi as well as Mwanza and Geita regions.
To be completed by July 2023, the President officially launched the water and sanitation project in Misungwi town. The water project whose cost is valued at Sh13.77 billion would provide clean water to nearly 64, 000 people in Mwanza region, according to the Permanent Secretary of the ministry of Water, Mr Anthony Sanga.
He said the projects would also benefit Magu and Lamadi, two satellite towns in the region.
Speaking during the occasion, Huawei Deputy CEO, Michael Zhang said currently the company is work with TRC to provide communication equipment and service for SGR project with the Global System for Mobile Communications-Railway (GSM-R) technology, which will evolve into LTE-R in future with advance function.
“Under new leadership of President Mama Samia Suluhu , Huawei will continue to build ICT Infrastructure in order to go in line with the Tanzania development Vision 2025,’’ he promised.