DAR ES SALAAM, July 17, (Xinhua/GNA) - Tanzanian President John Magufuli has given a five-day ultimatum to ministers responsible for finance and transport to release materials stranded at the Dar es Salaam port for construction of a marine slope in Lake Victoria to be used for repairing five vessels.
Speaking after he had inspected construction of the marine slope in Lake Victoria, Magufuli said he wanted to see the stranded materials released in five days from Tuesday.
Reports said the materials were being held at the port pending payment of due taxes.
He said the marine slope will be used for repairing five passenger and cargo vessels and assembling of a new vessel that will ease transport along the lake shared by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.
A statement issued by the Directorate of Presidential Communication at State House in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam quoted the president as saying that the repair of the five vessels and construction of the new ship by a Korean company will cost 152 billion Tanzanian shillings (about US$66 million).
The statement said President Magufuli was not happy with the non-clearance of 58 containers ferrying the materials for the construction of the marine slope and repair of the vessels.
Last week, Magufuli said plans were afoot to improve transportation in Lake Victoria to facilitate trade in the east African region.
"The government is assembling one vessel and repairing five others to improve transportation in the lake and subsequently stimulating economic activities," Magufuli said when he greeted Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Museveni was on a one-day visit to Chato, Magufuli's native village in Tanzania's northwest region of Geita.
Magufuli said that after assembling of the ship and repairing of five others, people in the three countries will be able to improve trade.