Magufuli Suspends Bagamoyo Port Construction
The Presidentof Tanzania, John President Magufuli has indefinitely suspended the plan to construct Ksh 1T Bagamoyo port which would have dwarfed our Mombasa port. This follows a disagreement with the Chinese Investors.
According to the latest updates, the terms of the highly ambitious infrastructure project that were set by the chinese investors, were not favorable and even a mad man would not accept them.
It has been established that the deal to build the Bagamoyo Port that was anticipated to be the largest in East Africa was to be signed by the former president Kikwete in 2013. Preliminary works for the $10 billion (Sh1 trillion) Bagamoyo Port at Mbegani creek in Bagamoyo, 75 km north of Dar es Salaam, were launched in October 2015 by then President Jakaya Kikwete, with some residents relocated to pave the way for construction.
This followed the signing of a deal between Tanzania and China’s largest port operator, China Merchant Holdings International (CMHI) and the government of Oman to build the port and to set up a special economic zone to transform the country into a regional business hub.
However, when President Magufuli came into office in November 2015, the project took a back seat as the government prioritized expansion of Dar es Salaam, Tanga, and Mtwara ports. Mr Magufuli also sought to renegotiate Bagamoyo Port project’s terms with the investor.
After years of fruitless talks, President Magufuli has finally declined to move ahead with the project saying the conditions set by the investor amount to selling Tanzania to China.
Parts of the Chinese demand were:
- Own and operate the port for 32 years.
- That Tanzania Revenue Authority should keep off from port operations.
- That they should own the land on which the port stands for 99 yrs.
- That they can start other companies within the port’s land without interference from the government.
- That TZ should not develop any other port to compete with Bagamoyo.
“Those investors are coming with tough conditions that can only be accepted by mad people. They told us once they build the port, there should be no other port to be built all the way from Tanga to Mtwara south,” Mr Magufuli said on Friday during a meeting with local entrepreneurs.
“They want us to give them a guarantee of 33 years and a lease of 99 years, and we should not question whoever comes to invest there once the port is operational. They want to take the land as their own but we have to compensate them for drilling construction of that port,” he said, adding that the investor barred the State from collecting revenue from port.
There is a growing criticism of Chinese investors’ operations in Africa. The quality of Chinese investment of Africa may not benefit the black people as many people think.