Dodoma — EXTENSION of the 572-kilometre Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Isaka to Rusumo- Kigali is aimed at tapping not only shipments to and from Rwanda, Burundi and northern parts of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) but also 3.6 million tonnes of nickel at Kabanga mine project in Ngara, Kagera, Region.
Tanzania is currently undertaking construction of the SGR project in two phases from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro and from Morogoro to Makutupora in Dodoma at over 7.06trl/- and future plans are to extend the line from Isaka to Rusumo and eventually Kigali in Rwanda.
A heated debate ensued in the National Assembly on Wednesday evening when Nzega MP, Mr Hussein Bashe (CCM) proposed in the House that the extension should be made to Kigoma to tap consignments from the eastern DRC.
The sentiments by the Nzenga legislator were echoed by Kasulu Urban MP, Mr Daniel Nsanzugwanko (CCM) who claimed before the House that initial plans were to extend the railway line from Tabora to Mwanza, banking on exports and imports to Uganda
. However, the Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Prof Makame Mbarawa, argued that the government of Tanzania would only fund the Isaka-Rusumo section while the government of Rwanda will foot the cost for the remaining section to Kigali.
The Minister explained that the Tabora-Kigoma section of the railway line will transport consignments to and from the eastern parts of DRC through Lake Tanganyika to Kalemie port in that country.
According to Prof Mbarawa, the SGR section to Rusumo-Kigali stands to benefit from consignments from Rwanda, Burundi as well as Bukavu, Goma and other parts of northern DRC, and thus making the project beneficial to Tanzania. "
The government is conducting a feasibility study for the costs of undertaking the project from Tabora to Kigoma. In the next financial year, we have allocated 100bn/- for compensation along the proposed route of the SGR from Isaka to Rusumo," the minister explained