THE just graduated ten marine officers within the Central Corridor are expected to tackle the human resource gap within the East African Region transportation sector, said Works and Transport Minister Prof Makame Mbarawa.
The Central Corridor connects the Port of Dar es Salaam by road, rail and on land waterways to Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, the eastern part of DR Congo and western part of Tanzania.
Taking into account that the transport sector is critical in the various areas of economic development, the government has embarked on major efforts in improving the country’s marine sector.
Although Tanzania is endowed with large water bodies like lakes, rivers and the Indian Ocean, the number of existing vessels plying within the country was not satisfactory.
Prof Mbarawa, who was speaking at the first graduation ceremony in honour of the Central Corridor ten marine officers held in Dar es Salam, yesterday, noted major efforts to improve the country’s marine sector through construction of state- of- the- art ships to boost the economies of the Lakes region.
“Tanzania and DR Congo cannot effectively transport cargo due to the shortage of ships, the reason the government has decided to construct a roll-on-roll-off ship, which will be able to cater for the purpose,” said Prof Mbarawa.
Aside from the challenge, Tanzania like its counterparts within the Central Corridor does not have enough qualified experts in the marine sector, indicating that with the just graduated marine officers, who have undergone rigorous training, the countries were now in good hands.
He was confident that the graduates will be able to help the sector’s prosperity, urging them to use their expertise obtained at Dar es Salaam Maritime Institute (DMI) concurrently with patriotism to boost their countries socio-economic development.
“As some of you will be serving in vessels, advisers in your ministries as marine engineers… go and make the right decision for the broader interests of your countries.
“Each country is eyeing to move forward. The same applies to the EAC, therefore it’s critical to improve the transport sector… you as the experts should offer your expertise,” he said.
He cited a security issue which was critical among lakes and oceanic countries taking into account that various activities are being carried out including transporting highly valuable and hazardous cargo.
As such, he emphasised on discipline, professionalism and patriotism, cautioning the graduates against engaging in illegal dealings.
Equally, he expressed the government’s commitment to look into the issue of securing sea time opportunities and obtaining a vessel for supporting practical training at DMI.
Minister of Infrastructure, Equipment and Social Housing, Captain Dieudonne Dukungan extended recognition to Tanzania for using its resources to support the programme, citing that they collaborate with the Central Corridor to secure sea time for the students.
On his part, The Chairman of the Central Corridor Executive Board, Mr Waiswa Bageya noted that through the programme, the ten graduates from within the corridor have undergone intensive training both in class and sea time for six consecutive years.
He revealed that the second intake will accommodate 15 students. Each country will have 3 students, pointing out that due to high demand the number has shot from 10 students to 15.
For her part, Acting Principal at DMI, Dr Tumaini Gurumo urged the government to effectively make use of the graduates in growing the marine transport sector of the countries in the wake of tackling the human resource challenge.
She cited the challenge of the marine sector being perceived as male dominant citing an example of the only female graduate, who throughout the course of training faced many challenges but still made it.