NEW plans to revive the defunct General Tyre East Africa in Arusha are in top gear with a long list of investors showing interest on the lucrative business.
The National Development Corporation (NDC) announced in Dodoma over the weekend that production, which stalled in 2009, is expected to resume within a year. The new development promises a quick fix on the country's spending on the importation of cheap tyres, which have become a thorn in the flesh.
Various studies and police reports blame most road accidents across the country on tyre bursts due to poor quality. According to Traffic Police reports, road accidents claimed the lives of 3,582 people last year. During the same period, over 1,000 bus passengers accounting for 18 per cent of the total deaths, also perished. Globally, about 1.3 million people are killed in road crashes every year, 90 per cent of them in developing countries.
Traffic accidents have become the leading cause of death for young people aged five to 29, killing more people worldwide than malaria. New findings have also indicated that the increase in the number of people involved in road accidents in Tanzania is greater than population growth.
According to a study by one NGO, at least 3.3 per cent of the population is involved in road accidents in the country compared to the growth of the population, which is estimated to increase at an average of 2.9 per cent annually. Earnestly, the nation can no longer afford this kind of loss of lives as it has a negative impact on the young economy currently growing at around 6.4 per cent.
While Tanzanians eagerly wait to see this new development becoming a reality, the government must ensure that a win-win situation prevails at all times when negotiating with the new investors on the project. It's on record that the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) pumped in 10 million US dollars (about 15bn/-) it advanced the company in 2005 but nothing tangible has been achieved on the ground.
The government must also find ways to end the legal dispute with the Germany-based Continental AG which had won rights to develop the tyre factory amicably to avoid a repeat of similar incidents in the past that cost the country dearly.