ARUSHA, TANZANIA, The Tanzanian government has commended the Chinese investors who have decided to build a giant cement manufacturing plant in the northeastern coastal city of Tanga.

The proposed plant is expected to be the largest in East and Central Africa.

"The Chinese investors' move is recommendable as it is meant to meet the country's cement demand as well as making the products available at a relative low price," said Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa here Tuesday.

He made the remarks when he met representatives of Sinoma and Hengya Cement (T) Ltd, Tanga Regional Commissioner Martin Shigella and officials from the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC).

The proposed cement plant, which will be built along the Indian Ocean coastline in Tanga, will provide many opportunities as it is being built at a time when the Uganda-Tanga crude oil pipeline is being built.

According to Majaliwa, construction of cement plant will act as a catalyst to Tanzania's industrialization plans as well as speed up the country's socio-economic development.

The President of Sinoma Company, Peng Jianxin, said the project would be implemented in two phases, with the first phase involving an expenditure of about 1.0 billion US dollars.

About 70 per cent of the production will be exported and 30 percent will be for local market.

"We'll be using the (access to the) Indian Ocean to export the produced cement to Somalia, Kenya and Mozambique. We're also planning to export it to Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda," the Chinese investor said.

Work on the plant is expected to start in May and construction of the project's own wharf will begin at the same time so that the produced cement can be transported directly from the factory.