14 May 2016

Tanzania: President Not Impressed By Two Newly Built High Rise Office Block

When the National Social Security Funds (NSSF) together with its counterpart, the PPF jointly invited the head of state, Dr John Magufuli to inaugurate their two new commercial complexes in Arusha, they probably expected the President to be impressed, but he wasn't.

"While these two high-rise buildings may look beautiful to the eye, the amount invested into their constructions, could have been channelled into better projects such as industries to boost employment and increase state revenues," pointed out Dr Magufuli.

The (NSSF) Mafao House, located next to The Arusha Hotel and the PPF Plaza located next to Kibo Palace were constructed by the two leading pension funds.

The President reminded Pension Funds officials that the rate of occupancy in these commercial buildings remained low, something which reduced the towering structures into white elephant projects whereas the 60 billion/- invested by the two schemes for both buildings could yield a number of factories to boost the country's productivity and exports.

"We have seven pension bodies in the country and together they contribute about 7 per cent in the national income which is relatively low compared with other countries where pension funds contribute up to 40 per cent of their respected national revenues," said the President.

Dr Magufuli directed all pension schemes in the country to start investing in productive sectors including small and large scale industries which may help raise their funds' values instead of their current trend of erecting skyscrapers.

There were thousands of Arusha residents witnessing the event to inaugurate the two buildings located just a stone throw from each other, along Nelson Mandela Road. Dr Magufuli said none of the ordinary Tanzanians will ever get a chance to enter, let alone work in the posh skyscrapers.

"All these people here will never know how these buildings look inside, but if PPF or NSSF had built factories, many of them would be lining up for employment," pointed out the President as the residents cheered with a deafening uproar.

He said the rate of occupancy for such buildings remain low because they are not targeted to ordinary Tanzanians; "No one in his or her right mind will be ready to pay for office rent reaching 2 million/- a month, which leaves us wondering who these structures are meant for," he asked.

"And if you build factories, you help create employment, this also helps you to increase the number of your pension scheme members, boost your membership and earnings as well as the country's revenues," said the Head of State and ordered a stop in future construction of what he termed as 'worthless skyscrapers.'

However, the President praised some of the better projects undertaken by NSSF such as the 'Nyerere Bridge' linking Dar-es-salaam City with Kigamboni Islet, the University of Dodoma (UDOM) and the National Assembly auditorium.


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