Dodoma — MEMBERS of Parliament have unanimously endorsed the Resolution on the Inter-Governmental Agreement IGA) between Tanzania and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) concerning partnership on ports developments, arguing that the agreement is crucial for transforming the port sector.
The IGA concerning Economic and Social Partnership for the Development and Improving Performance of the Ports in Tanzania was signed on February 28th, last year between the implementation institutions that are Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) and DP World based in Dubai.
The agreement aimed at, among other things, to develop and improve operations of strategic infrastructures for sea and lake ports in areas such as special economic zones, logistics, parks and trade corridors.
Debating the resolution, members of Parliament assured the public that the partnership has taken into consideration broad interests of the nation, assuring that it is going to increase efficiency in the country’s ports.
The lawmakers, however, advised the government to be careful and consider important issues raised in the agreements that will be executed in the future.
Same East MP, Ms Anne Kilango Malecela said that President Samia Suluhu Hassan is against contracts which are not beneficial to Tanzania, thus she could not allow such agreement to be signed if it was not favorable for the country.
“I call upon Tanzanians to be assured that the Sixth Phase Government will not allow endorsement of contracts that are not beneficial to the country and this signed agreement is going to bring efficiency to the country’s ports,” Ms Kilango said.
Ubungo Member of Parliament, Professor Kitila Mkumbo said that the resolution which was brought to the National Assembly does not speak about selling of the ports rather improvement and development.
Prof Mkumbo added that, “neither Chama Cha Mapinduzi nor President Samia could allow the government to bring into Parliament a resolution that aims to sell the port.”
“The MPs also could not allow such resolution to be brought to the National Assembly, thus I would like to assure citizens that the resolution is concurrent with ruling party’s economic policies,” he said.
He said that the public fear regarding the agreement was due to the fact that the country had no good history on issues related to privatisation.
“People had raised concerns because of the history that there are some areas in which the country had not benefited from,” he added.
The legislator further said after the MPs endorse the resolution the government is going to do its normal tasks of signing the project agreements. He called upon the lawmakers to recommend changes where necessary because it is allowed in the agreement.
The MP further recommended the government to consider the issue of timeframe and be specific in order to clear the public fear.
Prof Mkumbo added that the contracts to be entered later should also take into account areas which the government has already made massive investments.
Special Seats MP, Ms Judith Kapinga (CCM) said that the government has considered broad interests of the nation when signing the agreement.
She said Tanzanians have questioned IGA because of the previous records by some officials who caused loss to the nation by entering into agreements that were not beneficial to the country.
“We want to tell the government executives that in the past the country incurred loss; thus, we will not allow such kind of agreements again … we will make sure that the contracts entered are beneficial to the nation” she said.
Sikonge MP, Mr Joseph Kakunda, (CCM) said that majority of those who are protesting the agreement are the ones who have been for years not wishing well for Tanzania.
“This is the reason why they are struggling to ensure that the agreement is not implemented, as they are sure that it will bring economic transformation in the country,” he said.
Biharamulo West Legislator, Mr Ezra Chiwelesa, urged the government to be very careful during the signing of contracts and make sure that they have a timeframe that does not exceed 25 years.
On her part, Ms Halima Mdee, (Special Seats – Chadema) warned that the agreement may bring challenges in the future, as it has not specified which areas and ports that will be under DP World.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Tulia Ackson said that the agreement allows changes and can be terminated by any party concerned, contrary to the misinformation spread to the public.
She called upon MPs and public to continue giving out their views for further improvement of contracts that will be entered in the future.
Dr Ackson also urged citizens to continue giving their views without attacking the President, because it is not healthy to the nation.