US could play key role in Bagamoyo port construction

Friday May 13 2022
Bagamoyo port pic

Tanzania signed a framework agreement in 2013 with China Merchants Holdings International for construction of the port

By George Helahela

Dar es Salaam. President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s recent visit to the US has rekindled hope on the proposed Bagamoyo Port after the American government showed interest in providing technical advice, State House said yesterday.

Tanzania signed a framework agreement in 2013 with China Merchants Holdings International for construction of the port and a special economic zone as part of efforts to transform the country into a regional trade and transport hub.

Also Read: Tanzania in talks with Chinese investor to revive Bagamoyo Port, says President Samia

However, the government appeared to have lost interest in the project between 2015 and 2020, but President Hassan said a few months after assuming office last year that Tanzania was in the process of reviving the stalled $10 billion project.

“I would like to share with you the good news that we have started negotiations on reviving the Bagamoyo port project,” she said during a meeting with the private sector in Dar es Salaam in June 2021.

Briefing journalists yesterday on the outcome of President Hassan’s recent trip to the US, where she also graced the launch of The Royal Tour documentary, the director of presidential communications, Ms Zuhura Yunus, said, “On the issue of Bagamoyo port, the American government expressed its willingness to offer technical advice whenever we may need it.”

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She said the US also reiterated its readiness to foster economic and social cooperation with Tanzania.

On tourism, Ms Yunus said the two governments agreed to strengthen air links.

“It was proposed that there be direct flights between Tanzania and the US, something that will spur tourism, investment and trade,” she said.

Responding to journalists’ questions at the briefing, Investment, Industry and Trade permanent secretary Godius Kahyarara said the government remained hopeful that The Royal Tour documentary would attract more investors, tourists and traders to Tanzania.

“We continue to have with meetings with tourism stakeholders in the country to see how we can accommodate the expected rise in the number of tourists,” he said.

Prof Kahyarara added that the government was employing a number of digital solutions in dealing with some of the challenges dogging investment in the country.

“Bureaucracy was the main challenge faced by investors because the system of registration required face-to-face contact through our one-stop shop. However, we expect to launch an electronic single window for investment as soon as possible. This will remove the need for physical interaction between investors and government officials.”

Prof Kahyarara said investors were also finding it difficult to acquire land, and the government would soon introduce a land bank to make it easier for investors to acquire land, adding the government would identify idle land that could be used for investments.

He noted that there had been a sharp rise in foreign direct investment (FDI) from an average of $600 million per year during the Fifth Phase administration to $5 billion in the first year of President Hassan’s leadership.

President Hassan on Wednesday returned from a two-day state visit to Uganda, where, along with her Ugandan counterpart, Mr Yoweri Museveni, she witnessed the signing of two agreements on the construction of the 400kV Masaka-Mutukula-Kyaka-Nyakanazi-Mwanza electricity transmission line, and defence and security cooperation.

According to Ms Yunus, latest data from the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) shows that Tanzania’s exports to Uganda rose from $111.7 million in 2015 to $631.4 million in 2021.