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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tanzania, China brace for major projects

CHINESE Vice Minister for Commerce Li Jinzao is expected in the country this week to discuss with the government on funding of multi-million shillings projects in the energy, transport and agriculture sectors among others, the 'Daily News' can confirm.
Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Mr Bernard Membe, told the 'Daily News' in Dar es Salaam that the Chinese minister and his delegation will arrive in the country on Friday.

"During the visit, the two parties will discuss several areas of co-operation which are crucial to ensure sustainable development including energy, transport, agriculture, construction and finance," he said. Construction of two gas processing plants at Mnazi Bay in Mtwara and Songosongo in Lindi as well as construction of a pipeline to transport natural gas from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam are expected to be top on the agenda.

The projects are geared at increasing supply of natural gas for power generation and for industrial and domestic use. They are now under consideration and appraisal by the government of China through Exim Bank of China. "We will be excited to know the progress that has been reached on the appraisal process and whether a financing credit agreement can now be finalized with Exim Bank of China," the minister said.

Mr Membe also hinted that the government will be following up on various projects that were submitted to the Exim Bank and China Development Bank for consideration under the financial support, equity and Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) models. These include equity of 100 million US dollars and credit of the same amount for establishment of Agriculture Development Bank as well as financial assistance to recapitalize the Tanzania Investment Bank (TIB) through equity of 110 million US dollars and credit of 120 million US dollars.

"Expansion of the new container terminal berth at the Dar es Salaam port in order to enhance its capacity to match growing cargo traffic will also be among areas of discussion during the visit of the Chinese delegation," he said. The two parties will also hold talks on modernization of the 2,068 km long central railway by increasing the rail weight from the current 80 pounds to 120 pounds per yard of rail.

And since the Tanzania Zambia Railway (TAZARA) provides the shortest link between the port of Dar es Salaam with Central and Southern African countries, the government of Tanzania will be inviting Chinese companies to explore and develop agriculture potential along the route to make the railway more efficient and effective.

Mr Membe explained further that implementation of the gas processing plants and pipeline projects will make it relevant for improvement of power transmission lines. "Therefore the construction of the North-West Grid Power Transmission Project and 300MW gas processing plant and transmission lines are vital," he said. "We will also be asking our counterparts to consider a request on financing of 10,000 energy savings and eco-housing projects on more convenient terms as well as implementation of the 50MW wind power project in Singida," he added.

Source:  Daily News, Tanzania

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