Zanzibar — ZANZIBAR may have its three major development projects progress well in the near future should the EXIM Bank of Beijing, China approve a soft loan.
The minister for finance said at a press conference after a closed door meeting with the visiting EXIM Bank delegation led by its president, Mr Wang Fade, that the discussions on how to move on the projects have gone well.
"We have discussed various areas on the three projects: on Zanzibar's International airport, e-government and the feasibility study for the planned construction of a new port at Mpiga-duri area," said Mzee.
The minister said in the discussions with the president of the EXIM Bank Beijing, were positive and Wang delegation would inspect the projects including improving on the airport architectural work, as directed by the ADPI France company consultant.
Zanzibar government borrowed over USD 70 million for the Abeid Amani Karume International airport project from the China Exim bank, the work which includes construction of a new modern terminal II by a firm from China.
The Chinese construction company was paid USD 35 million but before the work was over; experts noticed that it was shoddy work prompting the Zanzibar government to hire ADPI from France to evaluate the project.
ADPI is one of the world's leading architecture and engineering firms that designs and develops airport platforms as well as major infrastructures across the globe.
According to the ADPI evaluation report, Zanzibar has been advised to re-designing the terminal to cost about USD 140 million or demolish for reconstruction, but the islands' authorities opted for the re-designing to cost USD 115 million.
The development of the International airport which included the expansion of the runway to permit larger wide bodied airplanes to land started in 2010 and followed by the construction of new passenger terminal in 2011.
The "new terminal" construction project includes a 17,000-square-meter terminal building, a small power station, and a bigger apron was awarded Beijing Construction Engineering Group Ltd. (BCEG) promising that it would be ready by January next year.
The Chinese Government provided a 30-year preferential loan of 480 million yuan (73.85 million dollars). The whole project was previously estimated to cost 704 million dollars. China also released 19 million dollars soft loan for the E-government project launched this year aiming at increasing efficiency in government through the use of information and communication technology.
China's ZTE, Helios-Tech of Israel, Microsoft from USA, and local companies: Salem Construction Limited and Kemmisy Investment Limited have been working on the e-government project which includes laying of the fibre optic cable, construction of the centres and making connections.
E-Government is the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve the activities of public sector organizations and the government has asked China to support it for developing e-health and e-tax before e-education, e-tourism and other programmes.
Zanzibar legislators like Mr Hamza Hassan Juma (CCM) and Mr Ismail Jussa Ladu (CUF) have shown doubts about the e-government project saying there has been no transparency in the use of USD 19 million.
Meanwhile the Zanzibar minister said that the Exim Bank was considering giving more loans to Zanzibar for the study on plans to construct a new modern seaport. He said should the project be implemented, the Islands would compete with other seaports in the region like Mombasa-Kenya and Dar es Salaam, mainland.