Tanzania: Fate Awaiting Magufuli Mega Projects

By Rosemary Mirondo

Dar es Salaam — President John Magufuli may have returned to his Maker; but he has left a legacy that will be remembered by his fellow Tanzanians.

He was a man who walked his talk. He was elected for his first Five-Year term in 2015 on a promise of undertaking several mega infrastructure projects, reviving Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) and ending corruption, among other feats.

However, the question that is currently making the rounds is whether or not his successor, President Samia Suluhu Hassan, will continue with the projects.

Experts believe the new Head of State will definitely advance the projects since she worked closely with Dr Magufuli and therefore was part of the efforts.

“I’m optimistic that she will continue the plans. The good thing is that the projects implemented by Magufuli will now be under the newly sworn-in President who worked with the immediate former president,” said Prof Delphin Rwegasira of the University of Dar es Salaam’s School of Economics.

“The projects have brought a positive impact on the economy when you look at the Kijazi (Ubungo) Interchange, transporters use them to transport cargo from the Dar es Salaam port to their destinations while expansion of Morogoro Road has reduced traffic,” said chief executive officer of the Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship Development (IMED), Dr Donath Olomi.

It was during his first year in office when Tanzania was reported to have secured a $7.6 billion concessional loan from China’s Export-Import Bank (Exim) for the construction of a railway line that will link it with Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

But that deal did not materialize for undisclosed reasons and President Magufuli decided to solider on. Next on the plate was an announcement that the country was contracting Turkey’s Yapi Merkezi and Mota-Engil Africa of Portugal to build the SGR line between Dar es Salaam and Morogoro.

A lot have moved on since then. The Dar es Salaam-Morogoro section is almost complete.

In October 2017, the country awarded Yapı Merkezi with another $1.92 billion contract to build the 336km Morogoro- Dodoma section of the railway.

Makutupora SGR line

The project is intended to create an international route connecting the port of Dar es Salaam to Lake Victoria, offering shipping connections to Uganda and Kenya and even serve South Sudan, while the second route will run west to Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

It is being implemented in six phases.

Indeed even in the 2021/22 financial year, the government plans to spend a sizable chunk of its development budget on the project

According to the national development plan, which was presented by Finance and Planning Minister Phillip Mpango to Members of Parliament in Dodoma last week, the SGR will take up Sh3.19 trillion of locally-sourced funds.

“During the coming financial year, we will complete the construction of the 300-kilometre phase that stretches between Dar es Salaam and Morogoro of the SGR project,” Dr Mpango told Parliament.

The government will also continue with the ongoing construction of the 422-kilometre phase that runs between Morogoro and Makutupora. During the 2021/22 financial year, the government will also start the construction of the 341-kilometre phase between Mwanza and Isaka while the remaining other phases of the project will also be subjected to tendering, consulting engineering and other processes associated with actual construction.

In showing that he was a man of action who walked his talk, President Magufuli’s administration signed a contract with a joint venture of Arab Contractors and Elsewedy to build the 2,115MW Julius Nyerere HydroPower Project.

This was despite stiff opposition from some quarters that the project would have some dire consequences on the world human heritage site, considering that the project takes up less than one percent of what is known as Nyerere National Park. But President Magufuli stood unmoved.

His government believed that spending Sh6.5 trillion on a project that would bring 2,115MW to the national grid was the best way to build the foundation for an industrial economy which he had promised to advance during the 2015 election campaigns.

The ultimate goal of Dr Magufuli’s administration was ensure that Tanzania was able to produce 5,000MW of electricity by the year 2025.

Currently, the country produces 1,604MW against a demand of 1,180MW.

Dr Magufuli believed that with excess electricity, Tanzania could export the excess to its neighbours.

The project is set for completion come June 2022.

Data from the Energy Ministry shows that hydropower remains the cheapest source of electricity and this means that the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Station will bring electricity costs down.

It shows that it costs only Sh36 to produce a unit of electricity from water. Nuclear comes second because it required Sh65 to a unit.

Wind and geothermal are the third and fourth cheapest sources, with the production of each unit costing Sh103 and Sh112 respectively. During the coming financial year, the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Station will consume another Sh1.34 trillion of locally-sourced funds ahead of its completion in June, 2022.

During the 2015 election campaigns, President Magufuli promised to revive Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL).

True to his promise, the government took delivery of two

turboprop aircraft. On April 2, 2018, Air Tanzania received its third and final Q400 aircraft.

The government later delivered two CS300 jetliners and one Q400 turboprop aircraft. The government also ordered two Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft valued at $224.6 million at list prices

On April 2, 2018, Air Tanzania received its third and final Q400 aircraft with tail number 5H-TCE.

With the new airplanes, Air Tanzania resumed service to various domestic destinations.

On July 8, 2018, Air Tanzania took delivery of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which was deployed on intercontinental flights.

Air Tanzania received its first Airbus A220-300, registered as 5H-TCH, in December 2018. On January 11, 2019 the airline’s second Airbus A220-300 aircraft, christened Ngorongoro and touched down at the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam. So far ATCL has a fleet of nine aircraft and more have been ordered for delivery. According to Dr Mpango, during the 2021/22 financial year, the government will complete payments for two Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircrafts, complete the purchasing of Airbus A200-300 and one Boeing 767-300 for cargo,” he said, detailing a number of other projects on which the money will be spent.

A total of Sh1.5 trillion (of locally-sourced funds) will be spent on building passenger terminals, as well as payment of debts and purchasing of more airplanes for ATCL.

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