President Samia Suluhu Hassan has appealed to Tanzanians to pay tax to keep the country's strategic projects afloat.
The President, who was speaking before laying a foundation stone on the proposed construction of the Mwanza-Isaka 341 kilmometer Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project yesterday, rallied Tanzanians to be patriotic enough and pay tax in running such projects.
She was categorical that a great deal of the projects were being implemented through internal funding, hence the need of paying tax to the government.
"I urge all Tanzanians to pay tax lest such projects get stalled midway and the country's misses out on its economic targets," observed the President during her second official tour of the Lake Zone region.
She singled out the proposed expansion of the Sekou Toure Hospital in Mwanza as an important undertaking that will only be realized through internal funding which stems from payment of tax.
Meanwhile, the President urged Tanzanians to take advantage of the 3.1tri/- project, describing it as an ideal project for the country's industrial drive.
"Apart from creating employment opportunities, the proposed railway line will spur economic activities of the area through tourism and agriculture," she detailed.
The project is expected to generate 11,000 employment opportunities to Tanzanians, employing about 600 subcontractors and it will cut down traveling time from the normal 17 hours to just eight hours.
Once complete, the Mwanza-Isaka SGR will also reduce the cost of transporting cargo by 40 per cent, at the same time increase revenue prospects through cargo transportation.
The President exuded confidence on the upcoming project, saying it will turn the Lake Zone into a business hub within the East African Community (EAC).
In the same vein, the Head of State challenged the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC) to finish the work on time, saying it will be a litmus test for the two firms to secure further strategic projects.
"I want the Transport docket to play a supervisory role in ensuring that the contractors complete their work on time," the President directed.
The mega project whose construction started mid last month is expected to last for 36 months.
It is currently on mobilization stage, according to Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) director general Masanja Kadogosa.
"Machinery and camps are currently being set up at the site with the contractors conducting topographical surveys," he explained.
It will have 44 upper crossing and 23 lower crossings with more than 50 towers for signaling and telecommunication.
"It will be built to international standards with contractors from Portugal and Turkey fencing the railway line to avoid human encroachment," he said.
As the construction of the Mwanza-Isaka stretch gets underway, the Dar es Salaam-Morogoro(300kms) is complete by 92 per cent while the Morogoro-Makutopora(422kms) is ready by 62 per cent.
The two stretches cost the government as whopping 7.1tri/-.
The first 700 kilometers of the line, from Dar es Salaam, are currently being built by the Turkish company Yapi Merkezi.
Earlier on, Works and Transport, Dr Leonard Chamuriho informed the President that a delegation of politicians and government officials from Malawi had visited the country to marvel on how Tanzania was executing the SGR project using its own funding.
He assured President Samia that the contractors would finish the work on time, while abiding by the laws of the land.
Upon completion, the SGR project is expected to link Dar es Salaam, the country's economic capital to neighboring countries such as Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, via the city of Mwanza.