Kikwete stops port vehicle building By ALVAR MWAKYUSA, 16th March 2011 @ 22:00, Total Comments: 1, Hits: 423 PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has opposed plans by the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) to put up a multi-storey building at the harbour area to store imported motor vehicles. Instead, the president directed the authority to use the space for handling and storage of containers and other dry cargo. "Unless you convince me otherwise, I am against the idea. The port is already facing shortage of space, therefore, putting up such a structure is not proper at all," he said when he toured the port on Tuesday evening. The TPA Director General, Mr Ephraim Mgawe, had earlier told the president plans by the authority to construct the building for the purpose of storing motor vehicles. "Any cargo that can be stored out of the port, should go out. We should avoid a situation in which a port is turned into a bonded warehouse. Mr Kikwete also said he has stopped the defunct National Shipping Corporation (NASACO) to sell its plot to a private firm and instead directed them to offer it to TPA. "Even after I told TPA to acquire the land in question, they were just dragging their feet. I made that decision because I knew there is a lack of space here," he said. He commended TPA for improving its operations since his last visit at the port in 2006. He said improvement of services at the Dar es Salam port should be the priority to tap on the opportunities from neighbouring land-linked or land-locked countries, as they were formerly referred. He maintained that increased competition from other ports in the region was mainly due to problems faced by importers and exporters, noting that the government was working to improve the infrastructure. The Chairman of the Association of Inland Container Depots Operators in Tanzania, Mr Ashraf Khan, said it was high time the government gazetted their presence as required by international maritime regulations. "Once we are gazetted, we will be able to enter into contracts with firms exporting goods to Tanzania for their cargo to be directed to our depots directly, instead of going through TPA," he noted. The Tanzania Association of Oil Marketing Companies (TAOMC) Executive Director, Mr Salum Bisarara, ealier said various taxes and duties charged by state organs were to blame for inflated fuel prices. "Between 52 and 53 per cent of pump prices are due to taxes and duties," he charged before the president. Mr Bisarara called for consolidation of duties among the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA), Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and other agencies. "The government should also consider reducing taxes on fuel. This may impact negatively in the short run due to loss of revenue, but in the long run it will help stimulate growth in other sectors of the economy," he noted. Transport Minister Omar Nundu said the port is facing shortage of space to store containers and bulk cargo. The minister also cited poor railway network as a snag in smooth transportation of commodities. Cargo haulage from the port through railway now stands at just 0.5 per cent down from 10 per cent in 2008, he said. The Tanzania Shipping Agents Association (TASAA) Chairman, Emmanuel Mallya, urged for improvement of the railway system to ease transportation. MY TAKE: Mie huwa nakuwa na wasiwasi sana haswa huyu jamaa anapokurupukaga kusimamisha miradi! Tujiulize hiyo Ardhi ya NASACO iko vipi tusijekuta tayari iashachukuliwa na wenye nguvu na gharama yake ni zaidi ya hiyo multi storey parking lot! Hayo ndiyo mashaka yangu! Na mara nyingi kabla ya project ku-take off huwa kuna vitu kama feasibility studies hufanywa sasa huyu Mkulu amepitia akaona mapungufu yake au uswahiki mwingi?