19 January 2018

Tanzania: Clearance of Cargo to Be Slashed to 48 Hours By June

Photo: Voice Of America
Tanzania President John Magufuli addressing a rally in Dar es Salaam. (File photo).

Dar es Salaam — The time it takes to clear goods at Dar es Salaam Port will be slashed when Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) opens its one-stop centre in the city in June.

Goods should be cleared within 48 hours from the current average of 72 hours after the ultra-modern Sh149.5 billion building becomes operational.

TPA acting deputy director general (infrastructure development) Karim Mattaka said the centre would bring under one roof the various entities involved in the cargo clearance process and save customers the inconvenience of moving from one place to another.

The scattered nature of port stakeholders, including TPA, Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) and clearing and forwarding agents, creates room for unscrupulous people to swindle unsuspecting customers.

"With the one-stop centre, there will be more transparency and significant speed in handling goods, which should see cargo being cleared within 48 hours," Mr Mattaka told The Citizen yesterday.

The one-stop centre is housed in a sleek 35-storey building, whose construction is currently in its final stages. It will also host all TPA headquarters staff and is also expected to maximise efficiency at the port where customers would be served at one place. Congestion will also be reduced significantly, as all the necessary paperwork will be handled at the one-stop centre.

The Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Prof Makame Mbarawa, visited TPA yesterday where he was briefed on the progress of the building's construction.

Briefing Prof Mbarawa, Mr Mattaka said construction of the building, which commenced in 2013, was initially expected to have been completed by May, last year, but was delayed as TPA sought to ensure that the work was within the budget.

Prof Mbarawa directed TPA to ensure that the building was completed by the end of June, this year.

He stressed that it was imperative to make quick decisions for major projects to be accomplished on time for economic growth.

According to Mr Mattaka, TPA decided to suspend construction at some point to put things in order, including seeking the Attorney General's go-ahead when the cost of fitting tiles alone increased by Sh1 billion.

"Our earlier plan was that each company that would rent space from us would fit tiles of their choice to minimise costs, but central air-conditioning fitted in the building rendered this plan impractical," he said.

He noted that the contract costs had also been fluctuating from time to time, and revisions had to be made, resulting in costs to be cut by about $1 million.

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