THE government is losing billions of shillings each month from paying controversial fees to seven construction companies under contract with the Tanzania Roads Agency (TANROADS).
Well-placed sources have confirmed that the huge costs being incurred by the government are a result of the contractors jumping the gun by mobilizing equipment and other resources to various road construction sites before the funds allocated by the government for the projects were made available.
“The government now finds itself paying so much money every month to these contractor companies, being a sort of penalty fee for the companies being idle after mobilizing their equipment to the construction sites long before time,” an official in the Ministry of Infrastructure Development told THISDAY.
It is understood that the contractors have been lying idle at the road construction sites with their equipment for periods ranging between six and eight months now since signing up with TANROADS for the construction projects.
“Since June last year, the compensation bill for these contractors has amounted to more than 1 billion/- each month,” said another well-placed ministry source.
Contacted last week, TANROADS chief executive officer Ephraem Mrema said his office is not responsible for funds allocation, but did not comment on the issue of signing contracts with contractors long before securing the actual funds for targeted projects.
“The issue of fund allocation is not our responsibility...it is the ministry's,” said Mrema before abruptly hanging up his phone and not answering any further calls.
Efforts to get the Minister of Infrastructure Development, Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa, or the ministry's permanent secretary Omari Chambo, proved futile as their phones were either 'not reachable' or switched off.
According to THISDAY findings, the finance ministry has released funds for some of the targeted road construction projects but TANROADS is said to have a “special arrangement” for advance payments to specific contractors over and above the compensation fees package.
Contractors currently idle at project sites include Synohdro Corporation which has mobilized resources and machinery for upgrading of the Korogwe-Handeni and Handeni-Mkata road stretches since June last year.
China Civil Engineering is also being paid compensation every month since June last year after mobilizing its resources at site for the upgrading of the Dumila-Kilosa, Mbeya-Makongolosi, Lwanjilo-Chunya, and Magole-Turiani road stretches.
Also enjoying the compensation package are Hunan Construction Engeneering Group (Sumbawanga-Mpanda and Sumbawanga-Kanazi road sections) and Chico Limited, which mobilized its resources ready for work on the Isaka-Ushirombo road since August last year.
Strabag Interrnational has also mobilized its resources for work on the Ushirombo-Lusahunga road since August last year, and China Communication has set up its machinery for work on the Lamadi-Bariadi road since October last year.
China Railways is confirmed to have mobilized its machines and other resources at the Sumbawanga-Matai-Kasanga road construction site since August last year, and is said to also be entitled to receive compensation from TANROADS.
TANROADS is a Ministry of Infrastructure Development agency established under section 3(1) of the Executive Agencies (Tanzania Roads Agency) (Establishment) Order No. 30 of 2000 to oversee and manage usage and maintenance of the trunk and regional roads network on Tanzania mainland.