- The impasse which stalled the rehabilitation exercise of the Zanzibar port "has now been resolved," according to the EU donors behind the project. The port, which was poorly constructed in 1992, has been awaiting repair to finally be able to accept cargo and passengers. Legal and technical struggles have halted the work.
The Zanzibar Port and Malindi Wharves were reconstructed and extended in 1992 with resources from the European Development Fund (EDF). Within less than ten years after completion, the works revealed to be of poor quality and the condition of structures deteriorated seriously to the extent of hampering smooth operations of the port. Loading restrictions had to be introduced for safety reasons.
Since that, the government of Tanzania's autonomous Zanzibar island has struggled with legal and technical battles to secure modern port facilities. The Zanzibari government took legal action against both contractor and supervising consultants and finally was awarded a sum of approximately US$ 11.6 million - or more than 75 percent of the investment cost.
As new donors were needed to secure rehabilitation and up to date facilities, the EDF agreed to contribute with another euro 32 million and works were tendered for in 2005. The contract was awarded to a Danish contractor, who started works in October 2005 with a contractual completion date of 31 December 2006.
But last year, new complications arose as the Zanzibari government's consultants urged to include alternative technical solutions at a higher cost. Lacking the budgetary means to fund the new technical solutions and the donors being unwilling to contribute with even more, works on the port were again halted.
By end-2006, donors and the contractor managed to convince the government of Zanzibar that their option would "imply inappropriate use of public funds" and the simpler solution was therefore agreed on. Although Press Assistant Henry Lyimo at the EU's delegation in Tanzania holds that "the impasse which stalled the rehabilitation exercise has now been resolved," works are still not underway at the Zanzibar port.
The reason is that supply of the required materials from overseas requires between 4 and 6 months and, hence, works will re-start in May or June. "Under the revised contract, works will be completed by October 2008 and Zanzibar will finally get an operational, modern and efficient port accepting cargo and passengers," the EU delegation hopefully notes.
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