Bagamoyo Port Dream Revived In New Push

In efforts to revive what has so far been an elusive project, President Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday said the government was in talks with investors to restart the Bagamoyo Port construction.
The President also said that another big project, which had similarly stalled for various reasons, was the Liganga and Mchuchuma iron ore extraction.
According to the Head of State, a promising dialogue is already underway with investors of the big projects to find out exactly what the problem is, where the government can contribute and what is to be the investors’ role.
The agreement on construction of the $10 billion (Sh23 trillion) Bagamoyo Port project was signed in 2013 between Presidents Jakaya Kikwete and Xi Jinping of China. However, for almost eight years realization of the project remained elusive, with the final nail in its coffin embedded during the administration of President John Magufuli owing to what he said were unfair contract terms.
The project was to be implemented by the government of Tanzania in partnership with China Mercant Holding International and Oman’s State Government Reserve Fund (SGRF).
Rejection of the contractual terms, which according to Magufuli were “exploitative and awkward,” and hence could not be accepted meant that the project that had been touted to be a big economic boost to Tanzania had failed to materialise.
However, a new shift has emerged after President Hassan raised hopes for the revival of the two projects while addressing the business community during the 12th Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC) which was held at State House yesterday.
“Let me give you some good news. Negotiations on the two projects of Bagamoyo Port and Liganga and Mchuchuma have begun afresh,” said the President, adding; “according to the global market, the price of iron has now risen, so it is a good time to speed up and implement the project.”
For the case of Bagamoyo Port, President Hassan said: “We are also going to start talks with the institution that wants to implement the project for the benefit of our country and investors as well.”
The Head of State forthwith said that better negotiations were needed for the projects to benefit Tanzanians, admitting that past negotiations were not adequate.
During the meeting, President Hassan said the government will emphasize and invest in research and development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) so that the country could go in line with the transformation of industrialization.
“ICT and research are very important and we will put emphasis in those areas,” she said.
On the other hand, Liganga and Mchuchuma projects, which aim to produce coal and iron respectively, with the latter expected to produce one metric ton of vanadium pentoxide and titanium dioxide annually were also suspended for years since the signing of the agreement in 2010.
Another benefit of the projects that never got to see the light of day included a 600MW coal-fired power station that was to be constructed as part of the Mchuchuma project from which 250MW would be used by the iron plant, with 350MW going into the national grid.
The projects were to be implemented by a Chinese company known as Tanzania China International Mineral Resource Ltd (TCIMRL), following the signing of the contract worth $3.1 billion (over Sh6.8 trillion).
Speaking during the meeting that was also attended by various government officials, President Hassan, who serves as chairperson the TNBC received positive reaction from the business community present.
Tanzania Private Sector Foundation’s Angelina Ngalula said for the short period of President Hassan’s leadership a number of positive changes have been noted, including good cooperation between the government and other institutions such as the private sector.
President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who doubles as the Chairperson of the Tanzania National Business Council, opens the 12th meeting of the Council at the Jakaya Kikwete Hall at State House in Dar es Salaam yesterday. The meeting was generally a closed one and brought the President and members of the TNBC together.