Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

30 August 2014

Tanzania-China Logistics Centre Proves Everlasting Historic Relations

The government through Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) is reinforcing her Export Processing Zones (EPZs) and Special Economic Zones (SEZs). To develop more such areas, a total of Tshs 53 billion will be used to pay compensations to Kurasini residents where Tanzania China Logistics Centre will be constructed. Our Reporter looks at the new development and its importance...

EASIER said than done? No please---something is taking shape and promises are being fulfilled. I am referring to the long awaited Tanzania China Logistics Centre whose construction is at last about to start.

To make sure that the project kicks off, the government has released a total of Tshs 53 billion that will be used to pay compensations to Kurasini residents where the project is expected to be built.

According to the Minister of Industries and Trade, Dr Abdallah Kigoda, 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 toward implementation of this important project to our country's development," the Minister said.

The project involves construction of a modern trade hub in 60.4 hectares in Kurasini; the area will cover Shimo la Udongo, Mivinjeni and Kiungani areas.

The Centre expected to be the largest in East and Central Africa 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 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 Tshs 45 billion as compensation to Kurasini residents in two installments of Tshs 25 billion and Tshs 20 billion during the last financial year.

According to the Minister, the project will be implemented in two phases. The first phase will see a 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 Tshs 660 billion. Tanzania provided the land and compensates 1020 Kurasini residents.

The discussions about the project started in 2011. The Minister thanked kurasini residents for their patience. He said now that Kurasini 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 procedures to pay the money to those who deserves.

"We have already written a letter to the Ministry of Lands and Human Settlements requesting them 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 benefits 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.

This project reinforces existing relations between Tanzania and China but also reflects the importance the government of Tanzania attaches to the development of her EPZs and SEZs. It is not long ago when Tanzania hosted the China's Vice President, Mr Li Yuanchao. Among other places he visited, was EPZA.

It was during the tour when Chinese business community was urged to invest in Tanzania's EPZs and SEZs that are readily available and awaiting strategic investors.

"We welcome you to invest in these potential areas," Dr. Meru told the delegates. Giving an example, he said that the government has already set aside a total of 22,000 hectares in Bagamoyo and that EPZA encourages investors from China to come and invest in the special processing zone area.

"We envision this to become an industrial and trade centre," he said. He noted that the government in collaboration with the private sector is about to start putting up necessary infrastructure in the designated area and said this was a best time for investors to come and implement their plans.

Talking about Bagamoyo, Dr. Meru said a biggest port in the country and region will be built in the area and that this will change the outlook of Bagamoyo to a biggest metropolitan centre thriving with businesses and industries.

Under the plan also, are the modern airport and railway line connecting the central line and TAZARA, all these in a bid to create conducive business environment. He said that his authority has earmarked EPZ/SEZ sites in 20 regions with 500 - 9000 hectares each in Tanzania and that investors are invited to develop basic Infrastructure in the zones.

In recent weeks, EPZA entered into an agreement with the TIB Development Bank with a purpose of getting loans to develop infrastructures in areas owned by the Authority.

EPZA officials said that loans from TIB will help them develop and equip EPZA investment areas with vital infrastructures and therefore attracting investors. They said that the move was a one important step ahead toward realising the institution's vision and mission and development of the country at large.

Through such loans EPZA's areas such as Bagamoyo, Mtwara, Kigoma, Tanga and others in 20 regions in Tanzania will be able to get infrastructures needed by both local and foreign investors.

Here are 522 registered investment projects from China with a value of USD 2.4 billion which expects to create 77,335 employments for Tanzanians. With the establishment of the Logistic Centre in Kurasini, the value of Chinese investment in Tanzania expects to tremendously increase.

This is an opportunity for Tanzania. With a better organisation, every section of business community here can benefit, as earlier said by Deputy Minister Mbene.

For Tanzania traders, especially women, there will be no need to travel all the way to China. Traders from neighboring countries will also make Tanzania their source to buy goods, hence multiplying effects when coming here and stay when shopping.

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