PRESIDENT John Magufuli has said that in addition to the government throwing its weight behind building roads, it also focuses on connecting Tanzania to neighbouring countries, towards enhancing trading inter-connections.
The Head of State made the remark yesterday while addressing a rally at Kibaoni area after inaugurating the 76.6km Kanazi - Kazi - Kibaoni tarmac road in Katavi Region.
He said the construction of the road section was funded 100 per cent by the government to the tune of 100.5bn/- .
He gave an assurance of the completion of the remaining 71km from Kibaoni to Stalike in the region.
"The government will set aside funds to complete the construction of the remaining road section stretching from Kibaoni to Stalike ... the focus is not only to connect different regions but Tanzania with neighbouring countries, to facilitate trading inter-connections," President Magufuli said, adding: "We started with the Mutukula- Bukoba- Muleba- Biharamulo- Nyakanazi section and currently the construction is underway from Nyakanazi to Kigoma, a 300 kilometer section. We started with 100km and have also gone further from Kigoma to Malagarasi Bridge."
President Magufuli said the government was also determined to connect Uvinza District with Tanganyika District, noting that they had started with 35km stretching to Mpanda.
He further said that the government had also connected Mpanda with Sikonge a 359 kilometer road section and from Mpanda to Stalike (36km).
"We are now in the process of constructing another section covering Kibaoni, Sumbawanga and Tunduma ... our intention is to ensure that this road is also accessed by neighbouring countries such as Uganda and South Sudan. "We want vehicles from South Sudan to pass through Kampala, Jinja to Kibaoni in Katavi and proceed to Tunduma, Zambia and finally to South Africa... it is our hope that crops being produced in Katavi Region such as maize, paddy and sugarcane will be sold in South Africa," he further remarked.
He commended Tanzania National Roads Agency (Tanroad) and the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communications and other government officials for completing the road project.
President Magufuli commended Katavi residents for being major agricultural producers - Ruvuma, Sumbawanga, Songwe and Katavi.
Meanwhile, President Magufuli has warned villagers with intentions to invade protected areas after the government's decision to suspend the removal of villagers who were settled in conserved areas.
He said that they should not expect any favors from the government, other than being forcibly evicted from the areas.
"I decided to form a team comprising eight ministers to work on land disputes in the country because I vowed to work for poor Tanzanians ... I suspended the removal of villagers who were settled in 920 villages within various protected areas," he said.
He further said that the government also revoked 12 protected forests and seven forest reserves which had lost their status to be given to the villagers and be used for settlements and other activities such as agriculture and livestock keeping.
He said the government also allocated part of 14 forest reserves for agricultural activities.
President Magufuli noted that the decision was due to the massive increase of people and livestock, noting that at independence, the country's population was six million but to date it has grown to 55 million while the number of cows has increased from eight million to 32.5 million, in addition to goats, sheep and other animals.
"This decision should not be an excuse for some people to invade protected areas, they will be forcibly evicted," President Magufuli stressed.