Dar es Salaam — In a calculated move which will save billions of shillings Tanzania's economy loses daily, the government has outlined a massive plan to tame traffic snarls-up on Dar es Salaam's roads.
A 2010 study whose findings formed the basis for the construction of the Dar es Salaam rapid transit commuter bus system also revealed that the economy was losing Sh4 billion every day from traffic congestion in the city.
Besides, workers are forced to spend hours on the way to their workplaces, while environmental pollution from motor vehicle exhaust fumes almost invariably results in diseases such as cancer, which cost huge sums of money to deal with.
But the good news from the director of Information Services Department and chief government spokesperson, Dr Hassan Abbasi, is that feasibility studies for the construction of seven flyovers in Dar es Salaam will be completed in June this year.
The new flyovers will be built at the Chang'ombe, Uhasibu, Kamata, Morocco, Mwenge, Magomeni and Tabata junctions as part of continued efforts to ease traffic congestion in the sprawling city of more than five million residents.
The projects are also set to fuel socio-economic developmental activities in the country's busiest and most important metropolis.
"The seven road junctions have heavy traffic loads all the time, something that has a delaying effect on development activities. The government is very much concerned about this, and is taking steps designed to improve the situation," Dr Abbasi said.
The seven new projects will be additional to the two ongoing projects, namely the Tazara junction flyover in Temeke District and the Ubungo interchange in Kinondoni District, both of which are at various stages of construction. Construction of the Tazara flyover is scheduled to be completed in October this year.
Dr Abbasi said the government would continue to improve other infrastructure in the city, including construction of the second and third phases of the bus rapid transit network from the city centre to Mbagala (19km) and to Gongo la Mboto (23km).
The director reassured Tanzanians that upgrade of the 110km Dar es Salaam-Chalinze road into a six-lane highway is in the pipeline. This is with the same goal of easing traffic flows on the transport system that connects the country's commercial hub and major seaport with the central transport corridor link to a handful of landlocked neighboring nations.
Dr Abbasi also revealed the government's plan to formalise the agriculture sector by adopting the commodity exchange system under which farmers can sell their goods through auctioning.
"This will enable farmers to benefit even more from their activities. We have started with cashew nuts, and will later move on to maize, cotton and cassava," he said.
Other projects that have a direct impact on the people, and which the government is implementing, are supply of electric power to rural areas through its Rural Energy Agency (Rea). In due course, Dr Abbasi said, about 3,559 villages countrywide will benefit from the project worth Sh985 billion.
The director resorted to reports by two internationally reputed publications - The Economist and Foresight Africa - to justify performance of the government in implementing national development projects. The Economist edition of February 5 this year lauded Tanzania as the most democratic country in East Africa, while Foresight Africa ranked the country in fifth position on a list of countries with a promising economy - only behind Ghana, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia and Senegal.
"This proves that the government is working hard to ensure that the nation's economic growth is reflected in improved social services delivery for every citizen of the country," Dr Abbasi said.