Urban planning remains a big challenge in Tanzania, especially when demands of fast-growing growing populations in cities and towns are taken into consideration. The relevant authorities in these urban centres need vast resources and manpower to provide public amenities and services, and must, therefore, jealously guard whatever facilities they put up so as to prevent damage.
It is for this reason that the reported high incidence of heavy lorries damaging roads in Dar es Salaam and other cities and major towns is not only food for thought for town planners, but should also alarm the authorities.
Besides the wanton destruction of newly built transport infrastructure, especially service roads, the many heavy lorries plying roads in urban areas aggravate traffic jams, and have contributed to the increasing number of accidents.
According to a recent study, operators of heavy-duty lorries, usually carrying heavy equipment, flagrantly contravene road regulations. The study found that such vehicles are frequently involved in fatal accidents, especially at night.
The lorries carry loads, often above their axle capacity, thus damaging the roads and reducing their life span. Needless to say, this is indicative of failure to enforce regulations. Some officials are most probably lax and, therefore, do not perform their jobs as required.
A few years ago, authorities in Dar es Salaam put up signs prohibiting the parking of heavy-duty lorries in various areas. Understandably, the decision drew praise as it was aimed at restoring order and protecting infrastructure built at huge cost in places that had been turned into lorry garages and parking lots.
However, the areas were clear for a few weeks before the lorries began creeping back, and we are now back to square one. One wonders whether somebody is not sleeping on the job.
The law must be applied uniformly and consistently if we hope to protect roads in urban areas.
FARMING HUBS THE WAY TO GO
Most African countries have stagnated in their all-inclusive socioeconomic development largely because of poor policies and regulatory frameworks which focus on peripheral issues, and, for all practical purposes, ignore agriculture, considered the undeveloped backbone of many economies.
Experts agreed that Tanzania has huge potential to become an agricultural hub in Africa, but to do so, it must first revisit and overhaul as and where necessary the extant policies and regulatory frameworks on agricultural practices and related developmental activities.
In any case, the government and its related institutions, as well as privates sector players, must be more than able, willing and ready to invest in empowering smallholder farmers every which way as a matter of course.
Generally, agricultural hubs help to boost farming through organised crop production, handling, processing and marketing, as well as readily accessing financing, technology and inputs like quality seeds, fertilisers and pesticides.
Agricultural hubs are today the best way to grow the sector in Africa – and also bolster its potential for global food security.