WELL LINKED

Tanzania 2018 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Gilliard W. Ngewe, Director General of Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Agency (SUMATRA), on transportation budget allocation and cross-sector dialog and partnerships.

 Gilliard W. Ngewe
BIOGRAPHY
Gilliard W. Ngewe has been Director General at SUMATRA for three years. Prior to that, he held the post of Director for Road Transport Regulations. He has also worked as a lecturer at the Tanzanian National Institute for Transport.

Does the distribution of the government's transportation budget accurately reflect the investment needs of the transport sector?

We have started to see the proper allocation of funds since 2016. For example, the government prioritizes certain areas that need extra attention, such as inland waterways. There are plans underway to revamp these by acquiring vessels for Lake Victoria, Tanganyika, and Nyasa. At Lake Nyasa, vessels are due for commissioning in mid-2017. We expect another vessel to be ready to be commissioned by YE2017, and there will be three new vessels on Lake Nyasa in total. At the same time, we have sought investors to fund the building of new cargo vessels for Lake Tanganyika to link the eastern part of the DRC to western Tanzania. This would connect to the road and rail networks. The allocation of these funds was planned some 20 years ago, and we now see the budget being distributed to the right places. With new cargo vessels, we will be able to transport raw materials to factories and finished goods to the market in line with the government's drive to boost industrialization.

How do you assess the levels of dialog between the governing bodies of different modes of transport in Tanzania?

SUMATRA has forged a great coordinating relationship with other agencies, whether it is shipping, road, or rail transport. Government institutions have to coordinate on issues relating to all these sectors. In addition, we have a role to play in regulating competition within the various industries in which we work. Most of our operators come from the private sector, and we act as the umbrella for them to come together. One example of this process is port tariffs: SUMATRA is tasked with approving all port tariffs and port operators have to apply direct to SUMATRA or through their landlord, Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), if they want to increase a particular tariff. As their landlord, the TPA has to consider these requests and it advises the operators on whether a proposed tariff is too high or low and what factors the regulator will look at. The regulator then must consult with all the stakeholders in maritime, road, and rail transport to determine the effects on costs, efficiency, and competition. Through consultation, analysis, and decisions like these, we maintain a healthy and cooperative dialog across the industry.

What role do PPPs play in Tanzania's burgeoning transport sector, and are there discussions to forge more PPPs in the transport sector within Dar es Salaam?

PPPs are useful tools for joining hands with the government to come up with infrastructure investment, including in transport. Dar es Salaam's Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project phase I, under an interim service provider arrangement, is a typical PPP. The operator for this is the private sector and the owner of the infrastructure is the government. We have held discussions with the World Bank about starting construction on phases two, three, and four of the city's BRT system. Before YE2017, construction on Phases III and IV, which include the roads from the city center to Gongo la Mboto and from the city center to Bunju toward Bagamoyo, will commence. Again, there will be more private companies operating the infrastructure built by the government. There are also opportunities to invest in rail transport. We have iron ore deposits in Tanzania's southern highlands (Liganga) waiting to be extracted, and these will need to be transported to Mtwara port for export, hence the need for a standard-gauge railway. At the same time, there are some productive agricultural centers—in the entire western part of Tanzania from north to south—that are not particularly accessible. This means there is a need for investment in roads under PPP arrangements, and then there will be scope to invest in the trucking industry to transport agro-produce from the farms to markets and centers with rail links.