Bariadi. CCM’s presidential candidate John Magufuli yesterday defended his investments in mega projects such as reviving the national airline, and building rail and power infrastructures, saying he was doing to put in place a foundation for a strong economy.
“If you want to grow economically, you first invest in infrastructure that will stimulate growth,” said Dr Magufuli, who is seeking re-election for the second five-year term.
Such strategies as buying aircraft for the national carrier and construction of the Julius Nyerere power dam in Rufiji came under criticism from opposition and activists.
They questioned the cash-buying of the aircraft and others claiming that the power project was a threat to the environment.
“These projects are creating jobs for Tanzanians. Secondly, these infrastructure will stimulate growth of our economy,” he logically argued.
“These planes are carrying Tanzanian goods for exports as well as bringing in tourists. There are people like pilots and crew members employed there.”
“I also want to make sure all remaining villages are connected to electricity in the next three years. We are confident it will be done because by then we will have enough power. Our industrialization agenda also needs power,” he added.
Dr Magufuli was speaking at Bariadi where he held a campaign rally.
He outlined hopes for Simiyu residents with promise to develop cotton processing factories in continuation of industrialization drive if he is re-elected.
Dr Magufuli - who is seeking second five-year term in the General Election scheduled for October 28 this year - said the target is to export manufactured goods such as clothing instead of exporting raw cotton.
“We have started exporting processed meat and we want to do so in the cotton sub-sector,” he said.
“Cotton faced challenges this year due to measures such as lockdowns imposed after many countries were hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“However, the government has provided Sh2 billion to rescue farmers and our target is to have industries here so that finished goods are produced locally and exported to the European countries,” he said.
Simiyu Region accounts for about half of the cotton produced in Tanzania, according to him.
Dr Magufuli also went through the party manifesto for 2020-2025 which had promises such as road infrastructure, a new airport and construction of a centre for training small scale miners.
He arrived here from Shinyanga. His next station will be Mara Region.
Dr Magufuli reiterated his call that he was only seeking another five-year term - and that he would not turn himself into a life-president.