Tanzania: Magufuli Hits Out At Tough Loan Conditions

President John Magufuli presses a button to launch a major water and sanitation project in Arumeru District, Arusha Region. With him are Water Minister Makame Mbarawa, right, and Arusha Regional Commissioner Mrisho Gambo, left.

Arusha — President John Magufuli yesterday lashed out at what he said were tough loan conditions set by multilateral financing agencies.

He said the African Development Bank (AfDB) had financed many infrastructure development projects in the country because of its soft loans.

"The African Development Bank has less stringent terms, and you can see what is has done for this country," President Magufuli said after laying the foundation stone for a Sh520 billion water project in Arusha.

He said infrastructure projects financed by the pan African bank have made impact to the economy than those focused on the likes of institutional reforms and feasibility studies "which are never completed".

The project will more than triple the water supply to the fast-expanding Arusha city to 200 million litres a day from 45 million a day when completed in 2020.

That would surpass the demand of the precious liquid in the city of close to one million residents and some villages in the neighbouring Arumeru District, set to be 94 million litres by end of next year.

President Magufuli called for more support from multilateral agencies to fund Tanzania's major water projects because until 2015 only 50 per cent of Tanzanians were supplied with water.

AfDB funded the construction of the Arusha-Namanga road completed in 2012 and is also financing the 42-kilometre Arusha bypass under the East African Road Project.

Negotiations have been completed for AfDB to finance the massive upgrading of the Bagamoyo-Pangani-Tanga-Horohoro; Kigoma-Nyakanazi-Burundi and Katavi to Tabora roads to tarmac level.

The Head of State added in a televised address that the government would continue to solicit more funds for the water supply projects "because water frustrated economic activities".

Among the projects are those intended to boost water supplies to residents of the semi-arid Sengerema, Ukerewe, Tabora, Igunga and Nzega districts from Lake Victoria.

The Indian government and the World Bank have pledged Sh1 trillion and Sh800 billion respectively for the water supply and allied projects, he told thousands at a well attended inauguration ceremony.

He said Tanzania was still preferred by the multilateral finance institutions like the AfDB because they are confident the country has enough resources to pay back the loans.

"We have a lot of resources to raise money through taxes and other means. The African Development Bank knew we will pay," he pointed out.

Dr Magufuli took the opportunity to defend his administration over the mega projects, especially the planned Stiegler's Gorge hydro power, against critics within and outside the country.

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