Tanzania: Five-Day Ultimatum for Release of Ship Construction Materials

FINANCE and Planning and Works, Transport and Communications ministries were yesterday given five-day ultimatum to clear 56 containers with equipment for construction of a new ship in Mwanza.

President John Magufuli gave directive, instructing the permanent secretaries in the ministries and Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Commissioner General to fast-track the clearance process.

Speaking during his tour of the construction site to inspect the progressing works on the new ship that will operate in Lake Victoria, Dr Magufuli said: "Ensure that the 56 containers are delivered here as soon as possible, I want the three of you to work on the matter today so that next week the equipment could be here for the works to continue."

He said the contractor for the projects should not wait for 30 days before submitting their documents in the finance ministry to get exemption certificate, saying the process will only lead to delays and failure to meet deadline.

In order to boost marine transport in Lake Victoria, over 150bn/- has been budgeted for building of the new ship and slipway as well as major repairs on MV Victoria and MV Butiama.

Upon completion, the new ship will have the capacity to carry 1,200 passengers and 400 tonnes of cargo, including 20cars.

The construction will cost around 89bn/- The ship, measuring 92 metres long and 19 metres wide, will be the biggest so far to ply in Lake Victoria.

South Korean contractor-Gasentec Co. Ltd-has been contracted to design and build the vessel. President Magufuli said to complete the project on time there must be good communication between the contractor, consultant and ministry.

MV Victoria and MV Butiama Rehabilitation Project Manager Lieutenant Colonel Abel Gwanafyo said both projects are scheduled for completion in March 2020.

"We expect to receive new engines from Korea in September this year, our engineers and their Korean counterparts are working on the engines in Korea and after several tests, they will bring them in the country for installation," he noted.

Commander Gwanafyo said the major rehabilitations on MV Victoria started in 2017 but the vessel had halted operations since 2014 due to defective engines.

Before it stopped the operation, the vessel plied Mwanza-Bukoba route.

The rehabilitation involves the fitting of two new engines, three big generators, replacement of its electrical system, painting and change of seats to make it almost new, he said.

MV Butiama went for rehabilitations last February, with the South Korean company- KTMI Co. Ltd-executing the works.

After repairs, the vessel is slated to operate between Mwanza, Nansio and Ukerewe.

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