President Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday witnessed the signing of multi-billion marine service projects in Mwanza, envisioned to open up business across the Great Lakes Region and Indian Ocean.
In her statement during the event, she pledged the government's full support to supervise them and see into it that about 438.8bn/- pumped in them is professionally spent to completion.
The projects include construction of a new cargo ship to ply in the Indian Ocean, a 3000 tonnes cargo ship to operate in Lake Victoria and cargo ship that will operate in the Lake Tanganyika.
The deal also saw the construction of another ship for Lake Tanganyika with the capacity to carry 600 passengers and 400 tonnes of cargo as well as the rehabilitation of MV Umoja that is capable of carrying 1200 passengers.
Equally, she inaugurated a 36bn/- major slipway at the Mwanza South Port that will facilitate the construction of ships within the Lake Victoria surroundings and other neighboring countries.
Elaborating, President Samia reiterated the commitment of the government in making sure that Mwanza Region becomes a major hub of marine business within and outside the country.
"We intend to see Mwanza becoming a major business link in the Great Lakes Region and it the reason, why we have directed our efforts in the construction of roads, the Standard Gauge Railway line (SGR) and construction of a new airport and the procurement of more aircrafts.
"We are doing this to ease all activities related to transport and transportation services through Mwanza region, considering its strategic positioning in the country," she said while concluding her three days tour in Mwanza Region.
The President said the geographical location of Mwanza is crucial for cultivation and marketing of cotton and fishing activities among others.
In her narration, President Samia noted how the country has been using the region to transport marine harvests and crops to different parts of the country and beyond, adding that the government will continue constructing crucial infrastructures in Mwanza to encourage more business.
While recognizing the great contribution made by the fifth phase President under the late John Magufuli, in initiating the rehabilitation of the MV Victoria with the capacity to carry 1200 passengers and 200 tonnes of cargo and MV Butiama with the capacity to carry 200 passengers and 100 tonnes of cargo, she said transport woes in the Lake Zone will be a thing of the past.
According to her, the ships have helped to boost business and simplified transportation activities within the Lake Victoria.
Besides, she said the completion of a 36bn/- major slipway at the South Port will facilitate the construction of ships within the Lake Victoria and other neighboring countries.
"The completion of this major rehabilitation of ships and the construction of a slipway is a clear indication that we have done justice to the initiator, who laid the foundation stone in 2019," noted the President.
In a related development, President Samia agreed to work on the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Infrastructure, Mr Selemani Kakoso's request of supporting three colleges offering marine services courses in the country.
Mr Kakoso was on the view that the crucial vessels require technicians who besides being Tanzanians, should be professionals to man them, adding that the Parliament has proposed to the government to allocate over 20bn/- in the next financial year, to boost the operations of the colleges.
Among such colleges include the Dar es Salam Maritime Insititute (DMI) and two others.
Earlier, the Acting Executive Director of the Marine Services Company Limited (MSCL), Mr Philemon Bagambilana observed that the signing of five deals witnessed by the President including the construction of a new ship in the Indian Ocean, whose major market is expected to be the Comoros.
Mr Bagambilana also identified the construction of a cargo ship at the Lake Victoria, whose capacity will be to carry 3000 tonnes of cargoe specifically targeting to ferry cargo coming from the SGR railway line.
He pointed out that the ship will have a railway line and will also be in the position to carry wagons inside.
The third project, involves a cargo ship at the Lake Tanganyika and the construction of a passenger cargo ship at Lake Tanganyika with a capacity to carry 600 passengers and a cargo of 400 tonnes.
The list also mentioned the rehabilitation of MV Umoja ship, with a capacity to carry 1200 passengers and constitute a railway line domestically and linking with other neighboring countries.
Giving a brief on the rehabilitation, Mr Bagambilana said the work was undertaken by KTMI Company from South Korea at 27.6bn/- for New Victoria Hapa Kazi II and New Butiama Hapa Kazi Tu.
He further said the ships started operating since last year on August 16, where New Victoria makes three trips every week between Mwanza-Bukoba through Kemondo Port, while Butiama makes daily trips along Nansio Ukerewe route.