Tanzania: President Magufuli's Order On 'Dubious' Road Project Agreement

Dar es Salaam — President John Magufuli issued a seven-day ultimatum yesterday to the minister in the Prime Minister's Office responsible for Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled, Ms Jenista Mhagama, to settle the dispute involving the government and a road construction contractor.

The two parties have been embroiled in a contractual dispute, which the President said was dubious.

President Magufuli expressed his discontent with the cost of the project, which, according to him, did not match any practice in the world. He said the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) signed a contract with the Chinese contractor to build two kilometres of three lanes stretching from the Nyerere Bridge in Kigamboni for Sh21 billion, but later the contractor demanded Sh36 billion.

"Two kilometres of three lanes translates into 6km in total. If you divide Sh21 billon by the six kilometres you will find that one kilometre was constructed at Sh3.5 billion, which is overly expensive," said Dr Magufuli at a function to inaugurate Kigamboni District offices.

"I don't really understand the details of your agreement, but this contractor is now demanding Sh36 billion for the same project. However, inform him that the government isn't ready to pay his latest demands," said the President.

He stressed: "Make sure that you settle this in seven days so that he continues with construction as agreed earlier and if he insists on the current demand, issue another tender and we will meet in court," Dr Magufuli told Ms Mhagama.

He also asked the anti-corruption bureau to start investigations if the contractor refuses to resume work. Dr Magufuli also asked the ministers to include 78 kilometres of a road between Mji Mwema and Kimbiji in the projects under the Dar es Salaam Metropolitan Development Project, which aims at financing improvement of urban infrastructure among other things.

He said Sh600 billion was allocated for the DMDP project, but the Kigamboni's share did not work as expected.

"Find a way of reallocating the money so that Kigamboni also benefits from the project," said the President.

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