Samia irked by theft of building materials in strategic projects

Mwanza. President Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday concluded her visit to Mwanza Region by inspecting the implementation of strategic projects, including the construction of the JPM bridge, famously known as the Kigongo-Busisi Bridge.

She lambasted the habit of some dishonest Tanzanians of stealing construction materials from large development projects being implemented in the country.

Besides visiting the JPM bridge project, the President also visited and inspected the construction project of the new MV Mwanza, christened Hapa Kazi Tu, and a modern hotel, whose construction is being implemented by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) in the Capri-Point area in the City of Mwanza.

On different occasions, after receiving reports on the implementation of the projects, she expressed her satisfaction with the stages reached in the construction of the projects.

But she also urged Tanzanians who get skilled and manual employment opportunities in the development projects to work with professionalism, integrity, and patriotism for the benefits and interests of the nation.

President Samia said; “Those who steal cement and other building materials should stop immediately because these projects belong to all of us; their completion is beneficial to all of us.”

The head of state also wanted the Tanzanian experts employed in the projects to use the opportunity to learn and gain new skills from their foreign counterparts so that they could help the nation implement similar projects in the future.

President Samia’s warning to those who steal construction materials comes amid reports of incidents of theft of cement, oil, and other construction materials in mega construction projects such as the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and the JPM Bridge.

Reading a report on the status of the construction of the JPM bridge, the Chief Executive Officer of the Tanzania National Roads Agency (Tanroads), Mr Mohamed Besta, said the implementation of the project has already reached 75 percent, despite challenges, including the Covid-19 outbreak, the increased water levels in Lake Victoria, and the differences in geological conditions that delayed its implementation by 14 percent.

According to the work plan, the implementation of the project should have reached 89 percent, as opposed to the 75 percent reached by June 9, 2023.

“The contractor will work day and night, including increasing the number of workers and machines to compensate and close the 14 percent gap that held back the implementation due to the challenge of the Covid-19 outbreak, the increased water levels, and the differences in geological conditions,” said Mr Besta.

The construction of the JPM bridge, with a length of 3.2 kilometres, started in February 2020 and is expected to be completed in February 2024, costing more than Sh716 billion.