THERE has been a lot of positive changes in development in Tarime District, Mara Region, thanks to the presence of African Barrick Gold (ABG), a giant mining company.
The construction industry is one of such areas enjoying fruits of the activities of the investors. Several companies have continued to win tenders for implementing multimillion development projects, funded by ABG in villages around its North Mara Gold Mine.
The companies include Gimunta, Kiribo, Yale and PKM, all owned by local business people in the villages around the mine. These, according to authorities have demonstrated competence, having delivered quality works as well as complied with safety issues so as to avoid accidents at work.
They have also helped create many jobs for the local people. The Director of Gimunta Champion Construction Limited, Mr John Gimunta says the tenders awarded from the mine are a great opportunity for them to boost their business and have also helped enhance good relations between the mine and the surrounding local communities.
"I would like to request ABG to continue supporting development of local contractors in areas surrounding the mine. We are ready to continue being in the forefront forging good relations between the local communities and the investors," Mr Gimunta says, during a colourful ceremony held recently to lay the foundation stone at a modern multi-million shilling secondary school being built at Nyamwaga village with the support of the mine.
Nyamwaga is one of several villages in Tarime District reaping the fruits of mining sector, while construction of the school is funded by ABG. Construction of the secondary school is scheduled to cost more than 2.5bn/- upon completion.
Some of the buildings being put up are eight teachers' houses, eight classrooms, three laboratories, a library, dining hall, a sickbay and several toilets for students and teachers. Gimunta Champion Construction Company Limited was awarded a tender to build a new modern school which, according to residents of Nyamwaga village, has been named Julius Kambarage Nyerere, in honour of the Father of the Nation.
Speaking on the same occasion, Mr Gary Chapman, the North Mara Gold Mine General Manager (GM) said it was the policy of the mine to award contracts to local firms in a bid to boost the economic growth within the surrounding local communities. "Gimunta has been awarded this contract to build a school.
In other construction projects, we have picked local companies like Kiribo, Yale and PMK. We do this deliberately in fulfilment of the mine's policy which seeks to empower local communities, " Mr Chapman said during the event officiated by Mama Maria Nyerere on January 8.
The contractor has successfully completed construction of phase one of the school, after the mining company coughed up more than 838m/- to finance the project in recent months. Implementation of phase one involved construction of four classrooms, an administration block, several teachers' houses and toilets.
The school targeting hundreds of students hailing from mainly low income families is set to have Form one to Six. The contractor, Mr Gimunta asked the government to give the new school competent teachers and make regular supervision to ensure that it produces best students who will be scoring high marks in their final national examinations.
"Students' performance should match the beautiful environment of this school and this will also encourage ABG, who is our sponsor," Mr Gimunta said on part of his brief remarks at the occasion. Residents of Nyamwaga village congratulated the local contractor and asked the miner to award him the remaining work for construction of phase two which is due to commence soon.
The villagers also thanked the mining company for continued using contractors hailing from the villages around the mine. "We are asking the mine management to award construction of the remaining phases to the same contractor (Gimunta), to finish the work because the company has done a good work on phase one whose inauguration is happening today," Mr Fanuel Nicolas, the Education Ward Coordinator at Nyamwaga ward said when presenting the village speech to Mama Maria Nyerere.
Mama Maria Nyerere was shown around by Mara Regional Commissioner (RC), Mr John Tuppa to inspect the buildings shortly after she laid the foundation stone.
"I'm so grateful for this impressive ongoing development," Mama Maria Nyerere said on part of her brief speech at the colourful occasion attended by hundreds of people from all walks of life from Nyamwaga village and beyond.
Mama Maria Nyerere further thanked ABG for supporting provision of water in seven villages around the North Mara Gold Mine. According to Mr Chapman, they have drilled 44 boreholes in the villages between 2011 and 2013. "Many good things have been said here but special in my mind, I have the 44 boreholes drilled by the mine, for which I thank the mine, " Mama Maria Nyerere points out.
She also challenged Tarime residents to continue contributing to development projects being supported by various development partners including the mine. The presence of Mama Maria Nyerere encouraged the mine management to donate 20ml- for the purchase of the school computers.
"In recognition of your (Mama Maria Nyerere) participation in today's event, North Mara Gold Mine is pleased to donate 20m/- for the purchasing computers for the school, " Mr Chapman announced when concluding his speech amid cheers from the packed audience.