21 May 2014

Tanzania: Dar Traffic Jams - a Smarting Headache

Dodoma — MEMBERS of Parliament who are based in Dar es Salaam put to task the government on Tuesday demanding an explanation on the measures it is taking to end the traffic jams that have became a nagging headache to residents in the city.

The MPs came out strongly with some suggesting that it was high time the railway transport was prioritized because it has shown improvement since the commuter train that operates between Ubungo and the City Centre was inaugurated on October 29, 2012.

During the question and answer session, Mr Eugen Mwaiposa (Ukonga) challenged the transport minister to explain when the government would launch commuter train services from Pugu in Gongalamboto to the City Centre.

He said that the route had many passengers. Responding to the Ukonga MP's question, the Deputy Minister for Transport, Dr Charles Tizeba, ruled out the possibility of having a commuter train connecting Pugu to Gongolamboto, Ukonga, Kipawa, Vingunguti, Buguruni and other areas.

He insisted that there was no money allocated in the 2014/2015 budget to have the suggested railway route in place. "My ministry's inquiries on the possibility of purchasing two sets of Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) to provide commuting services to those areas established that it would cost 68bn/," he said.

According to Dr Tizeba, during preparations for 2014/2015 budget, his ministry asked for the money for the purchase of the required train wagons but because of budget constraints, the money was not allocated.

The answer by the minister stirred a heated debate with bitter response coming from other Dar es Salaam legislators including Mr John Mnyika and Mussa Azzan Zungu.

The former charged that the government was losing one trillion shillings a day because of traffic jams in Dar es Salaam.

Meanwhile, municipal councils in the country have been advised to set aside a monetary budget each for the purchases of ambulances since development partners who were supporting them (the councils) appeared to have pulled out.

A Deputy Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (Regional Administration and Local Government), Mr Aggrey Mwanri, said this in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

He was responding to a question from John Lwanji (CCM-Manyoni West), who wanted to know when the government would give an ambulance to Rungwa Health Centre whose construction is complete.

Mr Mwanri said that the municipalities should set aside money for this purpose. However, he added that the government earmarked 150m/- during the 2013/14 financial year for the purchase of an ambulance for Rungwa Health Centre.

He said that the ambulance, with registration number SM 10778, was handed over to the health centre last month and that members of the public have started enjoying its services.

Minister Mwanri said that the municipalities, through the local government capital development grant, should ensure that they have funds for the purchase of the ambulance since development partners no longer offer support in this aspect.

He said that the 40 ambulances provided by the development partners last year have been distributed to various hospitals and health centres but needs keep arising.

Mr Mwanri urged the Member of Parliament to involve the members of the public to see how best they can team up in solving various health issues which are within their financial means.

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