Sh4.4tr required to decongest Dar

Shortly after his election in 2005, President Jakaya Kikwete promised to build flyovers to tame traffic snarl-ups on the city’s roads, but ten years down the road, he is due to retire in November and leaving behind the very same old tale of decongesting Dar es Salaam.

Dodoma. It is a story that has been told and retold so often, about plans to construct flyovers and modern highways in order to decongest Dar es Salaam, which is now synonymous with traffic jams that cost the economy Sh4 billion daily.

Shortly after his election in 2005, President Jakaya Kikwete promised to build flyovers to tame traffic snarl-ups on the city’s roads, but ten years down the road, he is due to retire in November and leaving behind the very same old tale of decongesting Dar es Salaam.

To about five million residents of this city, traffic jams have become part of their daily lives, thanks to the dilapidated infrastructure, poor planning and lack of seriousness in the drive to decongest the country’s commercial capital.

But yesterday, the nation was assured that the government is scouting for Sh4.394 trillion to undertake various projects that seek to decongest the city of Dar es Salaam—for real.

To the Opposition, however, the timing of multibillion dollar project is perceived as a honey-trap to attract more votes during the October 25 General Election, to the government, this time around, it’s a serious business backed with actions.

According to the government, the money, to be sourced through various means including from development partners, comprises ongoing projects – including the construction of the Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit (Dart) infrastructure – plus building flyovers, interchanges and upgrading of several feeder roads, Works Minister, Dr John Magufuli told the National Assembly here yesterday.

“The aim is to build a flyover at Tazara, an interchange at Ubungo and improve several junctions including at Chang’ombe, Magomeni, Mwenge, Tabata, Kamata, Uhasibu (Kurasini) and Morocco,” Dr Magufuli said in his record 367-page presentation in which he sought the Parliament’s approval of Sh932.7 billion for his ministry’s development and recurrent expenditure for the 2015/16 financial year.

Of the requested amount, Sh890.572 billion is meant for development projects while the remaining amount would cover recurrent expenditure.

Actual construction of the Tazara Flyover, he said, would start next month (June 2015) after completion of the process of finding a contractor who will meet the required criteria. However, this did not go down well with the opposition bench which said Dr Magufuli has been cheating the August House over the real time when actual construction of the Tazara Flyover would start.

“It was in the 2011/12 financial year that he said the government would build flyovers at Tazara, Morocco, Ubungo, Magomeni and Selander Bridge but to date, nothing has been done and right now, he is once again cheating us that the Tazara Flyover tender will be opened next month in Japan. 

Who is Dr Mugufuli fooling?” enquired the shadow Works Minister, Felix Mkosamali (NCCR-Magezi—Muhambwe).

But Dr Magufuli, who holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree in Chemistry from the University of Dar es Salaam, said the project was delayed because most of the bidders did offer much more than the budget for the project.

On the Ubungo Interchange, Dr Magufuli who doubles as MP for Chato, said the government is currently finalizing the process of announcing a tender to get a contractor who will undertake the project. 

The interchange seeks to create three levels at the Ubungo Traffic Lights for vehicles to pass and proceed to their various destinations without stopping. “A total of Sh126.661 billion will be spent on that project.

On the Selander Bridge, he said the government has secured a concessional loan from the Government of South Korea to construct a by-pass bridge along Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road. 

South Korea will provide 80 per cent of the required Sh197.5 billion funding for the project that will include construction of a kilometer-long bridge over the Indian Ocean and several roads linking to it. 

The project will start from Koko Beach and stretch through Kenyatta Drive and join the Indian Ocean Bridge before meeting the Barrack Obama Road at the Aga Khan Hospital.

Under the ambitious Dar es Salaam City decongestion programme, the government will upgrade the roads between Julius Nyerere International Airport and Pugu (8 kilometres), the road between Kimara and Kibaha (25.7km) and the one between Pugu – Kifuru – Mbezi Mwisho – Mpiji Magoe – Bunju (34 kilometres) into six lanes.

“Until April 2015, the process of finding a consulting engineer for the projects was going on well,” he said. 

Construction of the 680-meters long Kigamoboni Bridge will be completed soon, noting that so far, the project is done by up to 80 per cent. The project, he said, also involved construction of some 2.5 kilometers of roads that link the bridge to the rest of the city.

Dr Magufuli has set aside a total of Sh12.044 billion during the 2015/2016 financial year for construction and upgrading of various feeder roads in the commercial city.

Apart from Dar es Salaam, Dr Magufuli also detailed a number of roads that have been constructed, or are in the process of being built, during President Jakaya Kikwete’s ten years of office. He also said the government now has a total of 28 ferryboats – up from 13 in 2005.

But in a rejoinder, Mr Mkosamali said some of the said ferryboats are of the outdated standards and not of the required qualities. He cited at the newly purchased MV Dar es Salaam as one of the ferryboats that indicate how the government was spending taxpayers’ money aimlessly.

“It is unfortunate that this ministry decided to buy an out-of-fashion ferryboat in the name of MV Dar es Salaam,” he said. The MV Dar es Salam is meant to be plying the Dar es Salaam-Bagamoyo Route and the initial goal was that it would help to reduce traffic jams in the city.

But according to Mr Mkosamali, the ferryboat costs between Sh4 and Sh5 billion, contrary to government’s reports that a total of Sh8 billion was paid to acquire the MV Dar es Salaam. 

“No one will be interested in using your ferryboat because it spends three hours to cruise between the two destinations while commuters spend less than one hour, meaning that the hope that this ferryboat would reduce traffic jam has hit a snag,” he said.

The deputy chairman for a parliamentary standing committee on infrastructure, Prof Juma Kapuya, the government should establish a special fund that should specifically cater for the development of infrastructure in Dar es Salaam.

This, he said, should be done in the same manner as the Road Fund – which is deducted from the money that Tanzanians pay on every litre of petrol and diesel bought - which is the reason behind the construction of various roads throughout the country.

Prof Kapuya, who doubles as former Employment and Labour minister as well as former Defense minister said the government can also decide to set a special ministry and entrust it with the responsibility of developing infrastructure and social service amenities for the commercial city.
Source: The Citizen, reported by Samuel Kamndaya, from Dodoma, Tanzania
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