Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

3 December 2012

East Africa: Local Engineers Demonstrate Capability

The Secretary General for the Arusha-based, community secretariat, Dr Richard Sezibera explained the 'X' design symbolizes 'unity' or maybe integration or both, but whichever the case, the new building looks beautiful despite some critics' who tried to shoot the project's achievements from rooftop to its basement.

"The building is leaky and during this rainy season it will be taking in water faster than a sinking Titanic," speculated some nay-sayers, but in reality the new EAC complex standing next to the Arusha International Conference Center is among the solid and city transforming landmarks in town.

The main contractor is Mr Ahmed Ikbal, the chairman and Director for the Dar es Salaam based, ARECO group of companies. The reason why Mr Ikbal and his ARECO firms are worthy the notice is because they are local Tanzanian contractors behind the massive project.

Even better they have managed to accomplish the ambitious project in time and with a saving of over 3 billion/- because the Germany Government had donated 14 million Euros, equivalent to 30.2 billion/- for the construction.

The contractors used just 29 bil/- and handled the building to the East African Presidents (Mr Jakaya Kikwete, Mr Mwai Kibaki and Mr Pierre Nkurunzinza) last week with fanfare fit for any growing five-state community.

With that the just unveiled East African Community (EAC) Headquarters' premises here has just set record for being the first ambitious project to be realized in time with a saving of 3.3 billion/-.

"The secret was to use as much local material as possible and outsourcing services from ordinary citizens plus executing modern methods of constructions," said Mr Ikbal who added that his companies will also undertake the works on the proposed Kigamboni Island City.

The planned budget for the construction of the state-of-the-art, East African Community Headquarters was 30.2 bil/- but the project works according to the EAC Senior Estate Management Officer, Dr Phil-Makini Kleruu, took slightly over 26 billion/-.

"The EAC headquarters' premises should go down the records as being an exemplary project which has managed to save 3.3 bil/- from the initially planned budget in addition to be completed in time," said Dr Kleruu.

The new EAC structure consists of three wings and each block has four floors with a central podium that is intended to serve as the chambers for the East African Legislative Assembly but judging from recent sessions held there, the podium is already too small for the task.

And the EAC building is earthquake proof, which means once the tremors start jolting the regional ground surface, those inside the building will be as safe as the gold bullions in fort knox.

Secretary General, Mr Sezibera explained during the ceremony that the foundation of the three storied building was capable of supporting two more floors should the community decide to expand and include more members (South Sudan, Somalis and DR Congo are after all, still waiting in the wings).

The building stands on a ten-acre Plot number 12 of Block 111 in the Sekei Ward of the Municipality next to the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) which was coincidentally constructed by the former EAC which collapsed in 1977.

Starting out as tenant to the now Parastatal Arusha International Conference Centre, the EA community secretariat used to pay annual rents amounting to US $450,000 which is nearly 600 million /- to the Arusha International Conference Centre where it had set up a number of its offices.

The EAC was also renting additional office spaces and paying additional rents to the New Safari Hotel Building and the Diamond Trust complex where it has outsourced tenancy due to limited space at the AICC.

The Federal Government of Germany granted the community funds for the construction of own premises when the project was announced back in 2006, but had to be shelved after it became apparent that the initial funding was inadequate and the EAC had to apply for more grants. Germany granted the EAC 14 million Euros (equivalent to 30.2/- bil/-) for the construction of the community headquarters.

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