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Prepare local experts to run SGR, Mbarawa orders RAHCO

WORKS, Transport and Communication Minister, Prof Makame Mbarawa has directed the state-run railway authority, Reli Assets Holding Company (RAHCO), to start preparing local experts to run and manage the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), as Phase II of the project takes off next month.

Prof Mbarawa made the directive yesterday after he toured the SGR construction sites at Soga and Pugu areas to inspect the building progress. The Minister told the Acting Managing Director of RAHCO, Mr Masanja Kadogosa, to ensure the company prepares a team that would train students from higher learning institutions and other local experts to acquire knowledge and skills for managing and running the SGR.

“The most important issue that the Managing Director of the authority ought to oversee is to send abroad our professionals to be trained by experts on how to manage the SGR once it starts operations,” he noted. Prof Mbarawa also directed RAHCO to ensure more tertiary students are recruited at the construction sites in order to be trained by the international experts (Yapi Merkez Insaat Ve Sanayi of Turkey and Mota-Engil,Engenharie and Construcao Africa, SA of Portugal) on undertaking the project.

He insisted that the local experts should be ready and well prepared once the SGR gets operational. The Minister said the plan to train and recruit local experts to manage the SGR operations is part of the project contract, insisting the need for RAHCO to ensure the plan is implemented.

“SGR will get operational in one and half years from now … it is a modern and unique railway whose mode of management will require expertise … if we fail to prepare our own local experts, the SGR will lack experts to oversee and run it ,” argued Prof Mbarawa.

The construction of the SGR once complete will require technicians, electricians, ICT experts and mechanics among other experts to manage it. RAHCO Acting Technical Director, Engineer Felix Nlalio, said plans were already underway as many higher learning institution students are at the sites, getting trained from experts. “We already have the plan on … we already have some of the students at the sites undertaking training from international experts,” he said.

He, however, said more youth were yet to be sent abroad to acquire skills and knowledge on SGR management. On the other hand, Deputy Chairman of Yapi Merkezi, Erdem Arioglu said that the construction of the project has been completed by 5.86 per cent. The construction of the project, according to Prof Mbarawa, was supposed to have been completed by 6 per cent by now, but was delayed due to rains.

Briefing the Minister over the matter, Mr Arioglu said that the company is working hard to ensure the construction is completed within the scheduled time. “We are trying to speed up the construction by putting more equipment and team work in order to work and mitigate the delayed part of the work,” he said, adding that site clearance has been completed by over 85 per cent.

The construction of 300 km Dar es Salaam-Morogoro SGR is expected to be completed in June, 2020. Upon completion of the railway, the train is set to spend two hours from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro cruising at 160km per hour, the highest speed in Africa. The Construction of the SGR Project, according to the Minister, has employed 1,750 including 1,550 Tanzanians. Meanwhile, work on the second phase of the construction of the SGR line linking Dar es Salaam and the capital – Dodoma is scheduled to begin next month, a government official has confirmed.

RAHCO’s SGR Project Manager, Engineer Maizo Mgedzi, said here yesterday that the work will start with the State laying a foundation stone, with the construction work beginning in early March, this year. The 336 km-long line stretching from Morogoro to Dodoma will cost 1.923 billion US dollars (about 4.3trn/-) and will be constructed by a Turkish construction firm – Yapi Merkezi. “The foundation stone will be fixed in early February, this year, however, the specific date will be decided by the State House,” Eng Mgedzi told a press conference in Dodoma.

He went on to explain that the construction work will be carried out during day and night to ensure the fixed 36 months or three-year of the timeframe is met. He weighed that immediately after the work kicks off, at least 4,000 people will directly secure jobs. He said 80 per cent of the staff will come from the areas where construction work is carried out, with the additional 20 per cent (1,000 people) being sourced from other parts. Eng Mgedzi emphasised that the contract for the country’s first SGR has already been signed since September, last year.

He noted that the State was working on compensating all eligible landlords before the construction work takes off. The new line will have five times the capacity of the existing line that transported only five million tonnes of cargo a year. “It will be able to transport at least 25 million tonnes every year and we expect the construction to Kigoma, Mpanda and Kalema connecting Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC.

This will eventually boost business at the Dar es Salaam Port,” he said. Yapi Merkezi East Africa Regional Manager, Abdullah Kilic assured that other than the construction work, his company will also participate in community social responsibility activities.

He said the construction company is equally planning to help in the construction of roads, schools, dispensaries and other infrastructure. “

The line will be electrified allowing a knot speed of 160 km per hour for a passenger train and 120kph for a cargo train. We’re also planning to drill a tunnel of at least 2.7 km in Kilosa to ensure the line is not destroyed during rainy seasons,” he explained.

In addition, he said there will be four stops between Dodoma and Morogoro and two main stands – one at Kilosa and the other in Dodoma.

Each stand will have facilities to accommodate 1,000 people and feed at least 2,000 people who will be working throughout the construction work

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