Unguja. Opposition party ACT-Wazalendo has said the recent awarding of the Malindi Port management to an investor was a misplaced priority and misuse of public funds.
Speaking at a rally on Sunday in Chubwini, Unguja , one of the party's senior cadres Ismail Jussa said there was no point in investing huge amounts of money and then almost immediately hand over its management to a foreign investor.
"The government spent some Sh13.6 billion in procuring new equipment at the port and another $6million on the installation of the e-port system to increase efficiency. It does not makes sense at all! What is the investor bringing on the table?" asked Mr Jussa.
According to Mr Jussa, it would have been ideal for the investor to bring in the technology and the new equipment.
“Worse still, that amount was far much more than what was use to install a similar system at the Dar es Salaam port where only $460,000,” he said.
He said that when they had questioned the performance of the board, they were told that the board had just been appointed and now they have made U-turn by bringing in a new management company.
“In running state matters you can’t keeping trying and erring, it is important that those that take over the mandate to run a country have clear objectives and that is why we at ACT are telling you exactly what we want to achieve with our brand promise,” said Mr Jussa.
Speaking at his most recent press conference at State House Zanzibar, President Hussein Mwinyi said it was important to reduce the berthing time for ships that dock at the Malindi Port because it was not good for business,
He added that it had reached a point where ships had to spend up to two months waiting to offload cargo because the port operations were manual in this era of automation.
The inefficient port operations affected the economy, he noted.
“The slow process at the port of Malindi was hurting businesses in Zanzibar, so we had to act,” he said.
As a result, the Ministry of Works, Communication, and Transport signed a five-year contract with a French company, Africa Global Logistics Group, which is a subsidiary of the Mediterranean Shipping Company, to manage the port.
“You can’t have a port where you’re not sure when your cargo will be offloaded; that’s why we said we had to look for a competent company to run the port on a special contract,” he said.
He said that apart from the MSC subsidiary, which was eventually awarded the tender, several other companies had expressed interest, and the negotiations were held by the government negotiation team.
According to President Mwinyi, under the outgoing arrangements, Zanzibar only earned 16 percent of the total revenue, whereas under the new arrangement with the MSC subsidiary, the government will pocket 30 percent of the total earnings.
“We also decided to cut the berthing time from the current seven days to two days because some ships were starting to avoid docking at our port due to the delays,” he noted