10 February 2017

Tanzania: It's Back to the Trenches At Julius Nyerere International Airport

Photo: Daily News
Construction of Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) Terminal III.

Following President John Magufuli's directive, the Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Professor Makame Mbarawa, yesterday formed a new supervision team of local engineers to oversee the construction of Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) Terminal III.

The minister has also suspended Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA) Finance Manager, Simba Lugano, who approved payments for the construction of Songwe International Airport. Led by Tanzania National Roads Agency (Tanroads), Dares Salaam Regional Manager Engineer Julius Ndyamukama, the new team got to work effective yesterday.

Others in the team are: Godson Ngomuo, Humphrey Kanyenge, Abednego Diyanga-- all from Tanroads; Mbila Mdemu from Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA) and Rehema Myeya from the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communications.

Prof Mbarawa also said delayed payments to the Contractor and Consultant would be settled within the next two weeks to facilitate smooth operations, adding they, too, had resumed work since yesterday as directed by the president.

From December 2016 to date, the government owes the contractor some 22bn/- and consulting engineer $839,928.88 and 229.9m/- in arrears overdue for seven months beginning June 2016, the minister said.

"From today onwards, we believe we'll get value for money from this project, I want the Contractor and Consulting engineer to work closely with the team," he noted. The minister said the project got off to a fault start, the first mistake having begun with the appointment of the previous Project Manager, Eng Mohamed Milanga, who wasn't fully grounded in civil engineering, but mechanical, which hindered effective supervision. Eng Milanga has since been removed as Project Manager.

Elaborating, Prof Mbarawa said the bigger part of this project sits well on civil works, and so requires someone solidly grounded in that department. The minister's observations are echoed by Mr Salim Msangi, Acting Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA) Director General, who says the project had earlier been slated for completion in August 2016, but that progress was held back owing to delays in settling over 290bn/- owed for Phase II which, in turn, hampered construction works at that stage.

He also cited the new Value Added Tax Act, removed exemption on imported construction material to be used in the project as another hitch to smooth implementation of the project.

In the first place, this one seems to have run contrary to what had been stipulated in the contract. Upon completion, the new terminal is geared to meet future growth in international arrivals, expanding the airport's capacity to six million passengers per annum -- on a terminal area covering 60,000 square meters.

Wednesday this week, President Magufuli suspended acting Secretary of the Planning Commission, Treasury, Frolence Mwanri over questionable approval of payment of monies set aside for the second phase of JNIA's Terminal III construction works.

Ms Mwanri was suspended following Dr Magufuli's impromptu tour of the construction site where he ordered relevant authorities to investigate the project. The president was visibly angered, pointing to huge amounts spent ostensibly to facilitate construction works during Phase Two, which he said didn't add up to the value of the building.

He subsequently directed Prof Mbarawa to form a team of local engineers -- well versed with the government focus - because he wanted a bigger share of the money spent on the project to remain within the country.

On suspension of Lugano, the minister said that he authorised payment of 3.3 bn/- to Contractor D B Shapriya Company Limited which didn't perform any work for two years.

"There have been delays in the construction at Songwe Airport and the contractor has stopped working for quite some time now claiming that the government owes him," Prof Mbarawa told reporters in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

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