Bukoba — THE Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr Adam Malima has expressed satisfaction on the ongoing construction of a two-way bridge at Rusumo border linking Tanzania and Rwanda.
He has, however, urged the Tanzania National Roads Agency (Tanroads) to ensure that the project is completed within the specified period set for November 15, this year. Mr Malima gave the directive on Thursday during his tour in Kagera Region, where he inspected several development projects under progress including the Rusumo international bridge in Ngara District.
Kagera Regional Tanroads Regional Manager, Eng. John Kalupale informed the deputy minister that the two-way international bridge at Rusumo border was a joint project being undertaken by Tanzania and Rwanda governments at a cost of 2.975 billion Japanese yen, with each country contributing 1.487 billion yen.
He elaborated that the project started on March 2, 2012 and was expected to be completed on November 15, this year adding that to-date the progress achieved stood at 68.8 per cent.
He said the former bridge was constructed over 40 years ago with capacity to handle 32 tons gross vehicle weight, while the present need was 56 gross vehicle weight. Mr Kalupale noted that while only five vehicles crossed the Rusumo bridge during 1985, the traffic had increased to between 170- 180 vehicles crossing the bridge each day.
The Rusumo border is a Central Corridor linking four East African member countries - Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Apart from the twoway international bridge at Rusumo, the project also involves construction of a customs depot.
A Senior Immigration Officer, Mr Kondo Abdallah said between July-December, last year a total of 31,314 vehicles crossed the Rusumo bridge while a total of 11,076 visitors were registered between January 1-28, this year including 5,272 foreigners.
He noted that challenges facing the Rusumo border include lack of reliable electricity, as they depended on solar power and insecurity due to increased banditry incidents along Rusumo- Kahama highway.
Meanwhile, Mr Malima has advised authorities in Misenyi District to construct a modern vehicle terminal at Mutukula border, to enable the council collect the needed revenue. Several vehicle operators complained to him that they were paying 5,000/- while crossing the border at Mutukula, but there were no facilities, including toilets.