Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Mtwara Gears Up for Grand Water Project

A JOINT water project between the government and European Union that will cost 12 million Euros is in the pipeline and Lindi regional authorities are looking for a contractor.

Speaking at the World AIDS Day rally, the Lindi Water Engineer made the remarks when briefing President Kikwete and wananchi on measures being taken to address the water problem in the region. The project will involve carrying out feasibility studies on drilling wells to get 7.5m litres of water, which surpasses the region's requirement of 5m litres per day.

The first phase of the project will be completed by end of 2014. Lindi regional leaders were taken by surprise when they were asked to give an account of thorny issues afflicting residents, including water shortage, the stalled cashew nut selling and buying and the future of Lindi port.

The president had to interrupt his speech to ask the government leaders to explain to wananchi on immediate plans to solve the burning issues. "I want an explanation before I leave this place. I know that water is the biggest problem in this region because the sources are far away," the president said. Another pressing issue was the plight of cashew nut farmers exploited by buyers.

The president directed the Cashew nut Board to devise a mechanism to ensure farmers get competitive prices that are rewarding. "Where are leaders in the cashew nut industry? They should come here to explain what they are doing to help the farmers," he stressed.

However, it emerged that the officials were not present at the function. The president went on to say that the government was not only concentrating on Mtwara port, but also empowering Lindi port authorities. He asked the Deputy Minister for Transport, Dr Charles Tizeba, to explain to the wananchi the ministry's plans for Lindi port.

Mr Tizeba said the ministry would develop Lindi port to the level that it backs up Mtwara port in terms of cargo handling, adding that much of Mtwara port would handle cargo for the gas exploration companies. President Kikwete toured Lindi port and the regional hospital. He told the regional medical officer to make sure essential facilities including X-Ray and Ultrasound were in place.

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