CONSTRUCTION of the much-hyped Tanzania China Logistics Centre, which is expected to be the largest in East and Central Africa, is at last about to start.
The development comes after the release of a total of 53bn/- that will be used to pay compensations to Kurasini residents where the project is expected to be built.
The Minister for Industry and Trade, Dr Abdallah Kigoda, told journalists in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday that the government of Tanzania has already given the money to the Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA), which will oversee the compensation exercise. "We are happy.
This signifies a crucial development towards the implementation of this important project to our country's development," the minister pointed out.
The project involves construction of a modern trade hub in 60.4 hectares at Kurasini in the city in an expanse of land that will cover Shimo la Udongo, Mivinjeni and Kiungani.
Expected to be the largest in East and Central Africa, the centre will be run under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) modal with the government of China represented by Yiwu Pan-Africa International Investment Corporation and Tanzania represented by EPZA.
The project is a result of Sino-Africa Cooperation Meeting held in Cairo, Egypt, in 2009 where China expressed interest to start trade hubs in four African countries. China chose Tanzania to start implementing such a project.
The government paid a total of 45bn/- as compensation to Kurasini residents in two instalments of 25 billion/- and 20 billion/- during the last financial year. According to Dr Kigoda, the project will be implemented in two phases.
The first phase will see the construction of a trade hub that will be used as a distribution point of high quality Chinese products to the East and Central African markets. "The second phase will involve construction of industries to add value to agriculture and mineral raw materials available in Tanzania," he said.
The government of China will finance the project to the tune of 660bn/-. Tanzania provided the land and compensated 1,020 Kurasini residents while discussions on the project started in 2011.
Thanking Kurasini residents for their patience, the minister said now that the exercise has come to an end, the government will now focus on paying people to pave way for the construction of Bagamoyo Special Economic Zone.
On his part, the EPZA Director General, Dr Adelhelm Meru, said his authority has started the procedure to pay compensation to deserving parties.
"We have already written a letter to the Ministry of Lands and Human Settlements requesting them to provide us with a list of people deserving to be paid," he said, adding that the payments might start after two or three weeks. The actual construction will start in two months after completion of compensation exercise.
Dr Kigoda's deputy, Ms Janet Mbene, said that the project will be of huge benefit to all levels of business community in Tanzania. She said that the project expects to create more than 25,000 direct employments and 100,000 indirect employments and increase the government's tax base.
"The trade hub will also help Tanzanians, especially women, to buy products here instead of travelling all the way to China, hence cut down costs," she noted.