by Ben Taylor
Foundation stone laid for new Ubungo interchange
In the presence of World Bank President, Dr Jim Yong Kim, President Magufuli laid the foundation stone for a new flyover interchange at Ubungo junction on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam. The three-level flyover is to be built by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and is expected to ease the city’s traffic congestion problems.
Ubungo, where Morogoro Road meets Sam Nujoma Road and the Nelson Mandela Expressway, is a major bottleneck. As one of the busiest road junctions in the country, more than 65,000 vehicles pass through each day. At peak times, motorists trying to enter or leave the city can often find themselves spending three hours or more at the junction. The intersection also serves an average of 500 to 600 upcountry and international passenger buses coming in and out of the nearby Ubungo bus terminal every day.
The project will cost TSh 188bn, financed by a World Bank loan. The government is understood to have completed all the preliminary preparations including paying compensation amounting to TSh 2.1bn to people with property that is to be demolished.
CCECC is expected to begin construction works immediately, with a stated completion date of September 2020. Construction works are expected to aggravate traffic problems during this time.
A similar overpass costing around TSh 100bn is under construction at the TAZARA junction in Dar es Salaam.
Air Tanzania revenues up
Managing Director of Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL), Lasislaus Matindi, said the company had collected TSh 9bn in the first four months after it began operating flights with two new aircraft in October 2016. Mr Matindi said about 80% of the revenue was spent on operational costs and on settling some outstanding debts. He was speaking to reporters after talking with the Parliamentary Public Investment Committee (PIC).
Last year, the government of Tanzania bought two 76-seater Q400 aircraft from Canadian manufacturer Bombardier, at $62 million.
However, though the committee was happy with the information provided by from the management and board of ATCL, it called for a more detailed investment policy and business plan, a recruitment plan and details of the challenges the company faces, according to PIC chairman Albert Obama.
Dar-Bagamoyo ferry remains grounded
A ferry that was intended to provide a means of commuting direct to Dar es Salaam city centre from Bagamoyo remains grounded, with no immediate prospect of providing services. The boat, with a capacity of 300 passengers, was delivered in 2014 but grounded for ‘intense maintenance’ soon after its trial test. Rather than 90 minutes each way, as expected, the ferry was found to be only able to cover the distance in 3 hours, making commuting an unattractive prospect.
“The issue is already in the mandate of legal experts to ensure that all the prerequisites are met as per agreement before handing over the vessel after mechanical systems are approved. Once it is over the public will be informed on further steps forward,” said Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Engineer Edwin Ngonyani.
He explained that up to now the boat was back with the manufacturers as it was not possible to accept something that failed to meet such a significant part of the specifications.
A report from the Controller and Auditor General in 2016 discovered signs of a flawed procurement process in the Dar es Salaam ferry boat’s $5m purchase from Danish-based company, JGH.