As things seem, His Excellency is determined to build a state of the Art International Airport in Bagamoyo (his hometown)and surprisingly none of our so called Technical experts at the TCAA is daring to tell him of the prospect of that Airport to be null and void. The project that is anticipated to source funds from the Eurobond of $500 million that the country is eyeing by the mid of next year, will be an ill advised allocation of resources if none of us will stand FIRM and OPPOSE H.E. from executing his overly ambitious dreams that offer us NEITHER RELIEF NOR MERCY on our economy that NEEDS BADLY credible INFRASTRUCTURE!
Probably we should ask ourselves (tax payers) whether, a town of 30,000 inhabitants, 70 km and 56.9 km from Dar es salaam and Zanzibar (an average radius of less than 60 km) respectively; needs an Airport of that size. As far as i know, the town has no social and economic activities that can absorb such a massive investment (revenue-wise). Moreover, the proximity of Bagamoyo to either Dar es salaam or Zanzibar makes it impossible for those huge international jets to incorporate the airport in the Dar and Zanzibar routes since it is uneconomical (as taking off and landing requires burning of a lot of fuel for that distance to make any sense). This leads me to ask one thing, has there been a feasibility study on that project? A cost benefit analysis (CBA)? if yes, who did that? Are our President and Minister in-charged advised wisely?
I know people inhere are going to respond negatively towards my suggestion but we need to know when and where we inject money into a project, it has to be prudently gained back through tax and revenues collected from using the respective facility. Therefore things like location, area population, and economic and social activities of the recipient area have to be looked in details. It is obviously that Tanzania that is so big; needs infrastructure but it will make more sense if the infrastructure built is put in a manner that serves the mass and can repay the cost of investment (tax payers' money) in time. If at all we want to develop promptly, individual ambitions should be avoided on matters that aim to serve our infrastructural woos.
No one disagrees that infrastructure is of a paramount importance on improving our daily lives, business environment and to our general competitiveness to the outside World; especially when it comes to attracting investments and enhancing international trade are concerned, but that can only be REALISTIC if we don't take for granted our existing problems on solving the situation on the ground by following our self instincts and forget to face the GENUINE BARRIERS out there. It is obvious true that in Tanzania, there are areas that are completely isolated regardless of being endowed with a lot of untapped potentials e.g. the Western part of Tanzania.
For instance a city like Mwanza and a town like Kigoma could make more sense economically for this sort of expensive project! Ask me why? Mwanza has a huge population aside Dar es salaam (> 1 million inhabitants), the city has a mid size but growing industries with massive mining activities compared to none in East Africa (e.g. gold, nickel, cobalt, strategic metals and numerous germstones are found there) plus touristic activities i.e. Lake Victoria and the Western Serengeti are in the proximity without forgetting the highly lucrative fishery activities. Whereas Kigoma town has a population of over 150,000 people, a growing lucrative palm oil agro-industry that its potentials remain unexploited, plus untapped tourism activities at Ujiji, Gombe and Mahale Islands and Lake Tanganyika itself not to forget the fishery activities. And most important, Kigoma is a gateway to the western DRC, Rwanda and Burundi!
Do our technical advisers see this? if so, why not advising their Excellencies what should be the priorities right now? If they are advised and choose to give a deaf ear on the advises given, why should they pursue their ambitions by looking for alternatives if their main agenda is to leave behind a legacy in their hometowns? For instance, if i'm put into task to come up with tangible investment ideas, i would suggest Bagamoyo right now to be in dire need of an airstrip for light aircraft, in dire need of undisputable state of the Art Technical University/College that will as well serve a population in Dar es salaam city and its suburbs, a dire need of a good hospital that can be a state of the Art to accommodate medical Tourism needs esp. taking an advantage of the good beaches the town is endowed with and NOT forgetting international hotels BUT NOT an international airport! Moreover, I would accept a good harbor/port there but AGAIN not before an expansion of those in Dar es salaam, Mtwara and Tanga (in sequential order priority-wise ofcourse).
Across the border there is a lesson to learn; Kenya under Moi regime and based on Nyayo's nepotistic instincts, built Eldoret International Airport in Eldoret (262 km away from Nairobi) years back that until now has failed to attract International Airlines i.e. it performs under-capacity till now. Moreover under the coalition government of Odinga and Kibaki, a new International Airport has been opened in Kisumu (a well deserving city) in a distance of less than 200 km; that automatically renders the Eldoret International Airport defunct from the little life it had before. As far as our affairs are concerned we are not far from embracing such mistakes; as we are about to undertake such wastage of resources with this project right here in Tanzania.
It is high time people out-there to act diligently and stop our politicians from misappropriation of our resources. If Kikwete is there to serve the interests of the people of Tanzania (majority) then he should hear this call and NOT waste our RESOURCES particularly via the Eurobond money that is being sought after but ONLY to end up being splashed on this sort of project that is nonviable and the invested resources won't be timely recovered to pay back the loan. That said, it is my strong belief the so envisaged overly ambitious future International Airport undertaking is a "A WHITE ELEPHANT" project and none of us is above the law to be excluded from taking responsibility when it comes into picking pet and lavish projects (with no prospects just Like of Mobutu's and Omar Bongo's extravagances) over prudent ones; that will inflict serious strenuous burdens to this country and hinders the badly economical expansion. It is upon these facts i do take my esteem citizenry responsibility to ask our President to use our RESOURCES wisely and try to emulate ACCOUNTABILITY and TIMELY RESPONSIVENESS as our pleas have always asked ......Pls allocate the resources to the most needy but but proven economically feasible!
NOTE: Lets discuss facts here and NOT religions OR tribes! Our future is on our SHOULDERS than need SMART and SHARP minds...