How Samia is opening up Mbeya economically

Monday August 08 2022
Samia Kasumulo

President Samia Suluhu Hassan addresses residents of Kasumulu Town on the border with Malawi yesterday. PHOTO | STATE HOUSE

By The Citizen Reporter

Dar es Salaam. Residents of Kyela and Rungwe districts in Mbeya must be keeping their fingers crossed in anticipation that the projects, launched by President Samia Suluhu Hassan are brought to a logical conclusion.

The projects, launched during the President’s third day of her tour of Mbeya, are meant to stimulate economic activities, by opening the two districts to the rest of the country and to neighbouring countries of Malawi and Zambia via Kasumulu and Tunduma.

President Hassan yesterday laid the foundation stone for a one-stop border post (OSBP) at the Kasumulu border between Tanzania and Malawi and a 39-kilometre road covering Kikusya-Ipinda-Matema.

The President also announced to work on a plea by residents in the area to talk to her Malawian counterpart to allow passenger and cargo ships to ply on both sides of Lake Nyasa.

“This I am taking up and soon I would visit the countries and I will talk about this with my colleagues,” she said.

Welcoming the President, Works and Transport minister, Prof Makame Mbarawa said the construction of the 39.1-kilometer road project, which has cost a total of Sh100.196 billion of locally-sourced funds, was aimed at addressing transport and transportation challenges facing citizens in the area.

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Apart from reducing transporting time in the area famous for Lake Nyasa tourism activities, the road will also boost the fisheries sector as well as the growing of cocoa, palm oil, rice and banana.

“The road project that you have just launched and which is funded by the government’s own founds, will open available social and economic opportunities in the area,” he said.

He said the Kasumulu OSBP will increase the volume of cargo passing through the area and thus boosting trade and business relations between Tanzania and Malawi.

Prof Mbarawa provided Sh200 million to Kyela District for installation of lights, something that had been done in Kiwira and Tukuyu.

He said a tender has been announced for road construction from Uyole-Mbeya Town to Airport where the government will build a four-lane road.

“The four lane road will be extended to the Tanzam Road stretching from Igawa-Songwe and Tunduma,” he said.

He directed the Tanzania National Roads Agency (Tanroads) chief executive officer, Mr Rogatus Mativila, to finalise the tendering process and pick the contractor who will build the contractor the 32 kilometre Igunda-Itunga Road within five days.

“This is a distracting issue because the project is delayed by people’s personal interests. Now, I’m instructing you Engineer Mativila to conclude this job by Friday (this week),” he said as Mr Mativila nodded in acceptance of the minister’s directive.

He said the contractor to be picked must surely be the one with the lowest bid. “Don’t change anything because your people would like to change things but the capable lowest bidder should be picked,” he added.

Meanwhile, President Hassan reminded residents of Kyela and Rungwe to cultivate a culture of paying taxes and relevant levies.

She said it was encouraging that in Mbeya, all districts have collected over 100 percent of their targets, noting however that there was a room for further improvement.

“I know you can collect much more than what you have projected to. Review your targets and you can collect more…,” she said.

She said the recent agreement between Tanzania and Zambia, reached during last week’s visit by Zambia President, Hakainde Hichilema to Tanzania, would see the Tazara and Tanzam links being improved greatly.

President Hassan, who is winding up her tour of Mbeya with the launch of subsidized fertilizer programme at the ongoing Nane Nane exhibitions today (Monday), called upon Mbeya resident to uphold unity despite their differences in political ideologies.

“Tanzania will be built unity and solidarity,” she said, adding that days of segregating people against their ideological and party affiliations were over.

She said during her tour of Kiwira in the area, she found out that the ward councillor is from the opposition party Chadema but that he was working in solidarity with everyone and that the area was developing at a terrific pace that must be emulated.

“We are no longer advancing politics that divide out people along party lines. I beg you to continue with this. Irrespective of your political party, ideology, what matters is that you are a Tanzanian and you have nowhere else to go apart from Tanzania. What matters in your life is that we must build Tanzania….,” she said.

A cooperation that involves the government, political leaders as well as traditional and religious leaders is what will help to advance Tanzania to new levels.

Meanwhile, Water minister Juma Aweso yesterday pledged to provide water in Tukuyu within two months, with President Hassan promising to make a close follow up and take action for noncompliance.

Speaking in Tukuyu, Rungwe District, during the Head of State tour of the Mbeya Region, Mr Aweso said there was a Sh4.5 billion water project that would address the challenge in six wards.

“The project should be completed after two months to enable residents of Tukuyu to start getting clean and safe water,” he promised.

Following the promise, President Hassan said she will send a team to inspect execution of the project after completion of two months.

“In October my people will inspect if the promise has been fulfilled. Failure to fulfil the promise I will take action. Unless, he comes with one concrete reason,” she said.