THE GUARDIAN 27th March 2015
Heads of State of countries implementing Central Corridor transport projects have been urged to adopt delivery systems that will ensure timely completion of identified projects in their respective countries.The call was made by Omari Issa, Chief Executive Officer of the President’s Delivery Bureau’s (PDB) which oversees implementation of the Big Results Now (BRN) in the country.
Speaking at the Central Corridor Development Acceleration Programme’s Presidential Roundtable event in Dar es Salaam yesterday, he said, Tanzania has made beyond expectation achievements with less budget in the first year of implementation because of the BRN’s discipline which emphasises on prioritisation of frameworks that are rigorous and continuous monitoring and problem solving.
The discipline has been useful in addressing emerging challenges, hence, has enabled the country to make significant strides in each national priority area, including transport projects.
Specifically, Issa remarked that the implementation of critical Central Corridor projects in Tanzania which are currently being tracked and monitored under BRN has yielded significant results.
These include port rehabilitation, reinvigoration of the central railway line, critical roads and energy projects along the corridor, he said.
Government leaders from the Central Corridor countries indicated their interest to adopt Tanzania’s BRN Delivery Methodology in the transport sector in order to fast-track implementation on all fronts.
Launched in January 2014, the Central Corridor Acceleration Project, aims to see that railway, road, marine and air routes link the landlocked countries of Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo with Dar es Salaam.
While fasttracking infrastructure development in Tanzania, the government has also prioritised reforms to improve the business environment and ease of doing business in the country.
This will facilitate a better trading environment across borders. Six new national key result areas (NKRAs) were introduced under BRN to achieve this – Access to land and security of tenure NKRA; Contract Enforcement, Law and Order NKRA, Curbing Corruption NKRA, Labour Law and Skill sets NKRA, Realigning regulations and institutions NKRA and Taxation, Multiplicity of Levies and fees NKRA.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting on Tuesday, President Kikwete said another project to build a central railway line from Dar es Salaam to Msongati would start in June, this year, adding however that it would take four years to completion.
He added that the work was going to start from Dar es Salaam-Isaka-Kigali-Kitega/Keza to Msongati and would be implemented by M/s Canarail/GIBB Africa.
He said it was important to expedite growth of cross-border infrastructure projects aimed at boosting trade and economic integration in the region.
On Wednesday's development comes as the government has highlighted plans to upgrade its railway line and connect hinterland countries like Zambia, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and eastern DRC to Dar es Salaam port through a 1,300kms central corridor.
Kikwete said that with Kenya planning the development of a 1,700 km northern corridor to link Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC to its Mombasa port, the two infrastructure corridors could work to complement one another.
He noted that he would be glad to see the Northern and Central corridors infrastructure operate as one block in future.
He said the DRC and Zambia had also expressed interest to join the Central Corridor infrastructure investments, adding that his government was taking measures to curb non-tariff barriers to trade in the region, which included reducing the number of weigh bridges and cumbersome police and customs check points on its road networks.
Speaking at the meeting, President Museveni urged fellow EAC member states to remove impediments to trade and regional integration.
For his part, the EAC Secretary General, Richard Sezibera, said the central and northern corridor projects would be harmonised and coordinated to achieve a common regional development goal.
Rwanda's infrastructure minister Musoni said the meeting had added impetus to development plans of the region.
Kenya's foreign minister, Amina Mohammed said her country attended the meeting to show solidarity to the region development agenda.
She said much of the transport costs to the tune of 30 to 40 per cent can be reduced, adding that there is a need for stakeholders to discuss how to remove the barriers that increase the costs.
Meanwhile, President Museveni said the Central Corridor would only prosper when member states identify challenges facing their people in the region.
Addressing the Central Corridor conference, Museveni said it was vital for the major stakeholders to benefit from the Central Corridor.
He named the major stakeholders of the Central Corridor as businesspeople, farmers, industrialists and the service providers.
“I've witnessed improvement in economics and politics for the past 15 years. We must focus on the best ways to improve agriculture, industries and the service provision in the Central Corridor," said the Ugandan President at the meeting which brought together leaders of East and Central Africa.
Museveni pointed out lack of security, education and markets for the products as the major challenges for the prosperity of the Central Corridor and that the region should unravel the problems.
The Central Corridor is formed of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania.
He cited factors which contribute to the prosperity as the cost of business and the infrastructures.
“If we will identify factors which hinder the nations' prosperity, the Central Corridor will grow," he said.