In 2013, Tanzania signed a framework agreement with China Merchants Holdings International, China’s largest port operator, to build a port in Bagamoyo and a special economic zone to transform the country into a regional trade and transport hub.
The deal was signed by Magufuli’s predecessor Jakaya Kikwete during a visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the country.
It was also financially backed by Oman’s State General Reserve Fund.
The groundbreaking of the project took place in 2015, but, Magufuli’s government set to renegotiate the terms and conditions with the investors. In May 2019, Tanzania MPs raised questions on the stalled project with many accusing the government of sabotaging development programmes in the country.
However, the Head of State responded to the MPs saying the conditions that were given by the financier were too tough and amounted to selling their country to China.
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“Those investors are coming with tough conditions that can only be accepted by mad people. The investor told us once they build the port, there should be no any other port to be constructed all the way from Tanga to Mtwara south,” said Magufuli.
He said the investor company wanted the government not to collect revenue from Bagamoyo once its construct the port.
“They want us to give them a guarantee of 33 years and a lease of 99 years, and we should not question whoever comes to invest there once the port is operational. They want to take the land as their own but we have to compensate them for drilling construction of that port.
“I am speaking this because, we as Tanzanians should be changing for we have been played for long,” he said.
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