Plans for the construction of a 2,190-kilometre central railway line to standard gauge form are now up for implementation as Chinese Exim Bank has agreed to give a soft loan of 7.6 US dollars (about 16 trillion/-) to finance the project.
According to a statement issued yesterday by the State House, the amount is enough to cover construction of 2,190 kilometres. The project is expected to start this financial year as the government has also set aside about 1tri/- from the current budget for the purpose.
Once completed, it is expected that the project will revolutionise Tanzania's economy and other countries in Eastern and Central Africa including Burundi, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The first phase will constitute the construction of the railway line from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza via Isaka and Tabora.
Exim Bank gave a nod yesterday over financing the construction after its president, Mr Liu Liang, met President John Magufuli at the State Lodge in Dodoma.
Mr Liu said apart from the funds, the bank would cooperate with Tanzania in exchanging experience and skills on the construction of the railway and its management. He praised Dr Magufuli for what he termed "his true desire to bring development to the country," including fostering the construction of the central railway line. "On this central railway line project, we have a positive view. We see it as good project.
We will accord the needed cooperation," Mr Liu pledged.
According to him, the bank is ready to support the railway project and other development projects. President Magufuli assured Mr Liu that Tanzania desires to implement such projects by using funds from its own budget and foreign sources.
The talks between President Magufuli and Mr Liu were held in the presence of Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania, Dr Lu Youqing, the Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Professor Makame Mbarawa, Finance and Planning Minister, Dr Philip Mpango and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, East African, Regional and International Cooperation, Dr Suzan Kolimba.
Recently, Ambassador Lu assured President Magufuli that the Chinese government, its financial organisations and other companies will give their total support towards the implementation of the project.
Source: Tanzania Daily News