President John Magufuli yesterday laid a foundation stone for the initiation of the construction of first historic Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line in East and Central Africa, with the capacity to transport 10,000 tonnes of cargo at once, in which upon completion in 2019, will create more than one million jobs.
The first phase of the project will create more than 600,000 job opportunities in which among them 30,000 will be directly employed. Likewise, the World Bank has also dished out 300bn/- for the upgrade of the railway line to improve transportation, accessibility, safety and service delivery.
During the historic event at Pugu, a few kilometres west of Dar es Salaam City, yesterday, Dr Magufuli directed contractors to make sure they finish the project within 30 months as 15 per cent advance payment for the project (300bn/-) was made last week.
The President also said that the project will improve the tourism sector, stimulate trade relations between Tanzania and its neighbours and other economic sectors. “Poor infrastructure is estimated to lower trade volumes by 40 per cent in Africa, thus its share in global trade is below five per cent and intra African trade is below 15 per cent, while in other continents it is between 40 to 60 per cent,” President Magufuli noted.
He added, “Most of our roads are ruined by heavy truck loads thus railway transport is highly recommended to preserve them. Therefore, construction of SGR will help to protect our roads.”
He also insisted that it was crucial for political leaders to focus on bringing development to their people as time for cheap politics was over, insisting that they should put Tanzania first before anything else.
The project, to be constructed at a total cost of 1.215bn US dollars, will be undertaken by Yapi Merkez Insaat Ve Sanayi (Turkey) and Mota-Engil, Engenharie and Construcao Africa, SA (Portugal), the first phase will include construction of the line from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro.
The project that is pencilled for 30 months, upon completion will see the train travelling at 160km per hour. It will also comprise 300 kilometres railway line in which 205 kilometres will be the main line while 95 kilometres will be intersections. There will also be six main stations and six mini-stations for intersections.
And, upon completion, the electrified train will take two hours to travel from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma and after the whole project is complete, it will take less than 10 hours to reach Mwanza unlike the current 36 hours.
Earlier, Railway Assets Holding Company (RAHCO) Director General, Masanja Kadogosa said the SGR project will handle 17 million tonnes per annum and will run parallel to the existing central railway line built 112 years ago by the German colonialists.
“The project will be carried out in five phases, but we’re facing various challenges including demolition of houses to pave the way for the construction of the SGR,” he said. Mr Kadogosa further promised to supervise the project accordingly so that it is finished on time, within the budget and as per required standard.
Minister of Works, Transport and Communication, Prof Makame Mbarawa, said the government has already invited bidders for the construction of the remaining stretch of 7.6bn US dollars from Morogoro to Mwanza.
“The work include design and construction of 336 kilometre stretch of the SGR from Morogoro to Makutopora, a 294 kilometre stretch from Makutopora to Tabora, 133 kilometre long Tabora to Isaka and 294 kilometre stretch from Isaka to Mwanza,” he noted