Councillors in Simanjiro district, Manyara region have reiterated their plea for the construction of the Economic Processing Zone (EPZ) facility at Mererani mining town, saying it was promise repeatedly made by the national leaders.
During their election campaigns in 2010, President Jakaya Kikwete and his deputy the Vice President Dr. Mohamed Gharib Bilal promised that once the ruling CCM retained power, they would ensure an EPZ in the area.
The councillors, during their just-ended meeting, said at least 1,000 hectares have been earmarked for implementation of the project but nearly two years since the promise was made, nothing concrete has taken place at the site.
A councillor for Naberera Mr. Sumleck Ole Sendeka said residents of the district want the project hastened in order to enable them benefit from the economic resources found in the vast district, including minerals, livestock, agricultural crops and wildlife.
"We sent our representatives to see the relevant people in Dar es Salaam over the proposed EPZ but until now nothing tangible has taken place. We are worried by the long delay", he told a recently-concluded session.
A prominent gemstone dealer at Mererani Justin Nyari said he had visited the ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development for a follow up but was frustrated to be told that they were awaiting a report from the Simanjiro District Council.
Recently stakeholders in Manyara region called for the speeding up of plans to establish the EPZ in question at Mererani in order to tap the economic potential of Simanjiro and Manyara region in general.
They complained the project has been on cards for a while and that it was high time it is given due priority by the district as well as regional leaders for the economic well being of the region which has big potentials.
Responding to the requests during the Regional Consultative Committee (RCC) meeting in Babati, the regional commissioner Elaston Mbwilo directed officials of his office to act on the matter immediately and also contact EPZ Authority headquarters.
He added he had been informed title deed for land earmarked for the project near Mererani town was yet to be processed by the ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development in Dar es Salaam.
EPZ, also called foreign trade zone,is an area within which goods may be landed, handled, manufactured or reconfigured and re-exported without the intervention of the customs authorities. They are mostly organized around major sea ports, international airports and national frontier areas with many geographical advantage for trade.