China yesterday clarified that an agreement signed between Tanzania and Governor of Exim Bank of China was meant to facilitate a feasibility study, not an agreement for a loan from China to Tanzania for the construction of central line railway.
China has meantime commended Turkish and Portuguese firms that have since won bids to construct the country's first phase of the 250km-stretch of Standard Gauge Railway from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro.
Overall, the central line spans 1,216km. Speaking during an interview with media, the Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania, Dr Lu Youqing, said the Turkish and Portuguese firms won the bid fairly, encouraging the Chinese construction companies to prepare well for future bids of the remaining phases.
"Last July the Governor of Exim Bank China visited Tanzania and signed an agreement with the Ministry of Finance and Planning ... that was a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that the two sides will work to do a feasibility study," he explained.
Dr Youqing said the Chinese construction companies that participated in the tender had since told him that the government followed all the standard procedures. Saying the entire process was transparent. "We encourage Chinese companies to continue participating in future tenders and be fully prepared," Dr Youqing noted.
He explained that the move was also an advantage for Tanzania noting that a lot of companies were optimistic about the country's development opportunities and that Chinese construction firms would remain willing to engage in tenders.
The firms Yapi Merkez Insaat Ve Sanayi (Turkey) and Mota-Engil, Engenharie and Construcao Africa, SA (Portugal) had won the tenders to construct the 205km run of the country's SGR, part of the 1,216km stretch that will eventually link Dar es Salaam with neighbouring countries of Rwanda and Burundi.
On the Tanzania Zambia Railway (TAZARA), Ambassador Youqing said the proposal and funding for its rehabilitation were still on course, only awaiting final decisions from Tanzania and Zambia.