The new 'MV Kilindoni, Hapa Kazi Tu' ferry that was unveiled early last month is proving to be the real game-changer for the Mafia Island economy that was seeing sluggish growth.
The government should be commended for its efforts which led to the funding of the Sh5.3 billion ferry that is said to impact the lives of hundreds of residents.
What is even more impressive is the fact that the 100-tonne capacity ferry was built by a local company; Mwanza-based Songoro Marine Transport Boatyard at a Dar es Salaam workshop. This goes to show that Tanzania has companies that are capable of executing such enormous tasks.
Back to the benefits of the ferry, plying between Mafia and Nyamisati in the Coastal Region, residents living in Mafia and Nyamisati now no longer have to worry about unreliable transportation means such as canoes and small ships which posed a risk to their safety.
Furthermore, the ferry has brought in new economic opportunities for small traders who now have access to a wider market within Mafia Island and beyond. Ease of mobility means they can now ply from one village to another with their merchandize, offering customers an array of products - something that was not easily achievable prior to the ferry's construction.
Better yet, what we should all applaud as the ferry continues to relieve residents of some of the hurdles that they were subjected to for a very long time is the fact that it is cost-effective. According to residents who use the ferry, the cost of travel has been reduced by roughly Sh5,000, where previously they had to pay Sh21,000 per person traveling on the ferry, it now costs them Sh16,000.