Mtwara — Vice President Phillip Mpango yesterday outlined how a multibillion shillings zonal hospital in Mtwara would advance the government's medical tourism agenda.
He said the Sh15.8 billion project will provide specialised treatment that patients not only from southern regions but also those from the neighbouring countries will be looking up to.
The facility, which is being built by National Housing Corporation (NHC) under the supervision of the Ardhi University (AU), is will have a total of 900 beds. It will offer employment to a total of 322 medical practitioners.
Dr Mpango warned health practitioners who steal medicines and medical equipment, saying they will be dealt with in accordance with the law.
Launching the facility, Dr Mpango said that in order to achieve the government's goal of turning the country into a medical tourism hub, health workers should aim bigger in improving provision of services.
Health deputy minister Godwin Mollel said the government has allocated Sh6.5 billion for medicines and medical equipment for the new health facility, saying so far, 51 percent of all the required [medicines and medical equipment] have been purchased countrywide.
The director general of National Housing Corporation, (NHC), Dr Maulid Banyani said the hospital construction started in September 2019 and that so far, construction has reached 97 percent.
Actual hand over of the project to the government is expected after one month.
Among the challenge that they have been facing during implementation of the project was delay in materials that were imported from abroad due Covid-19 restrictions.
He said the government has given NHC Sh14.1 billion out of Sh15.8 billion for the implementation of the project while the remaining amount was covered by the NHC.
However, the Vice President has directed the finance minister to provide the corporation with the remaining amount to accomplish some of its other businesses.
Directives to TPA
Meanwhile, Dr Mpango yesterday issued several key directives to port authorities in a deliberate move to improve service delivery and making the Mtwara Port competitive.
He told them to undertake a comprehensive Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (Swot) analysis of Mtwara Port and set appropriate strategies that will make it more competitive in the region and attract businesses.
The ongoing feasibility study for the Mtwara-Mbambabay railway, Dr Mpango said, should be taken seriously and that authorities must swiftly embark on construction as soon as the study is completed.
Authorities must also up their marketing of the port to Comoro and other neighbouring countries so that it [the port] to can be used for importation and exportation.
The Vice President was speaking here yesterday during his visit at the Mtwara Port and the Mtwara Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Authority (Mtuwasa) where he launched a Sh2.3 billion Rapid Sand Filter project.
Speaking at the Mtwara Port, the Vice President instructed the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) administration to carry the analysis by comparing costs charged by the Port to those of Ports in neghbouring countries such as the Mozambique's Beira.
"Talk to stakeholders including shipping agents and investors in order to maximize utilization of the port and therefore increase its efficiency for the benefit of the area as well as the country," he said.
He directed the minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Dr Leonard Chamuriho to closely follow up and commence implementation of the Mtwara-Mbambabay to Mchuchuma and Liganga project to make the port more profitable.
He instructed deputy minister for Agriculture Hussein Bashe to ensure agricultural inputs such as sulfur and liquid chemicals are imported via Mtwara Port while exports of cashew nuts and peas must be shipped from Mtwara port.
According to him, TPA should constantly communicate with its clients to understand the level of integrity of its officers, saying theft of properties and equipment from consignments belonging to customers will tarnish the image of the port and therefore scare clients.
Launching the Rapid Sand Filter project at Mtuwasa, Dr Mpango challenged the authority to prioritize utilisation of local raw material instead of importing even lime which is available locally.
His made the statement after learning that the 50 tonnes of lime used everyday for treatment of water was imported.
He challenged the ministry to sustain itself with water experts, advising that a proper program should be set to train Tanzanians at the Ubungo Water College and send some other citizens abroad. TPA director general Eric Hamis said the port was charging less fees as compared to ports located in nighbouring countries.
He said after spending Sh157 billion for rehabilitation of the port including installation of enough and modern equipment, the Ports' efficiency in serving goods has drastically improved. "The area for storage of cargo has increased to 70,000 square metres, flow meters have been installed and levies charged reduced," he said.
Dr Chamuriho said rehabilitation has enabled two large ships to be accommodated at a time; one carrying 65,000 tonnes and another with 45,000 tonnes.
Mtuwasa director general, Mr Rejea Mng'ondya said the Rapid Sand Filter project has been implemented by 75 percent, saying it will be completed in September this year.
"The Sh2.3 billion project has been delayed due to absence of equipment's in the market, forcing us to press orders from manufactures," he said. He expressed his hope that upon completion, the project will end water woes in Mtwara.
For his part, the minister of Water, Mr Jumaa Aweso, said the ministry has evaluated the benefit of using local contractors in 192 projects, saying it has spent Sh163 billion instead of the earlier-projected Sh207 billion.