Kilwa Masoko Fishing Port project is the most significant in the entire Lindi region, says President Samia

Address by Her Excellency Dr. Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, following the ceremonial laying of the foundation stone for the Kilwa Masoko Fishing Port Project and the distribution of state-of-the-art boats to our dedicated fishermen on September 19, 2023. Translated from Kiswahili by team.

First of all, I join others in thanking Almighty God for granting us the opportunity to meet today for this significant historical event. We have already laid the foundation stone for the construction of this port and handed over boats to the people of Kilwa. I also thank the people of Kilwa for turning out in large numbers for this meeting; I truly appreciate the great honor you have given me. Dear friends, I have been on a tour of Lindi region since September 17th. During this tour, I have addressed various development projects, and today we have undertaken a very large project. This port project is the most significant in the entire Lindi region. I say it’s the largest because we have made a significant historical stride in the economic development of Kilwa district or Lindi region and Tanzania in general since this is the first fishing port to be built.

Having said that, I commend the people of Kilwa; I have heard from the MP here. There is only one constituency he mentioned, but if we were to ask the second one, we would hear about billions of funds. The MP spoke about ports, water, and roads but did not touch on education, health, electricity, where the government is pouring a lot of funds. So, if with all this money coming into your district, Kilwa doesn’t change, then I suggest you sit down and discuss what might be the problem. We strive to pour in money, but the little I get from the performance of councilors, council chairpersons, and others in implementing these projects is that these funds are brought to alleviate the challenges of the citizens. They aren’t brought so that leaders can benefit, but to address the challenges faced by the citizens.

Today, we have laid the foundation stone for the construction of the fishing port and handed over modern fishing boats and their equipment to small-scale fishermen and seaweed farmers. 160 of these boats were provided on soft loan terms and have been distributed in various areas nationwide. I’ve been told that 139 of these will benefit small-scale fishermen and 21 will benefit seaweed farmers. Also, 34 boats were handed over today to some beneficiaries from the coastal region. These boats are set to improve fishing activities and seaweed farming, directly creating about 3,295 jobs and increasing community income.

I saw the small boats that were handed over today; the women will use them to reach the areas where they farm seaweed, as well as to carry goods during seaweed harvest. This will make their work easier than before. The larger boats, the likes of which can be seen here, are unique. They will go into deep waters and catch many fish. These boats have cold storage rooms for preserving fish. The fish will be brought here to the port for processing and sale, but they will also go and sell to people in various parts of the Kilwa district. So for those who received these boats today, they are on a low-cost loan. Considering the economic conditions in Kilwa, these boats were given on loan. We don’t expect these boats to cause any disputes among your groups. We expect them to work and boost the economy of Kilwa. So I commend you for getting these boats, but I urge you and stress the importance of taking care of them, using them properly, and generating wealth using this equipment.

Our expectation as a government is to see Kilwa, using these vessels, rise significantly in the next two to three years. So congratulations and please be careful in using these vessels, but also ensure the loans are repaid so that the government can buy other boats or invest in other projects. When I came to Kilwa by helicopter, I saw the beautiful features that God blessed us with in the Kilwa district. I saw environments where we could farm fish, especially in those mangroves. Kilwa has the potential to produce a lot of fish, not only from the sea but also from rivers and mangroves. The government’s duty is to bring experts to look at that geography, see how those rivers are, and the potential for fishing or fish farming in those areas.

Therefore, with the features that God has blessed us with in Kilwa, it’s a wealth that can elevate us, and the government intends to utilize that wealth. There are many activities that could be done, like fish farming, lobster farming, crab farming, and there’s a significant market for it globally. So, I tell my young people to prepare; the project mentioned by the MP might come, and you can get ample employment using those areas. Fellow citizens, these efforts are clear evidence of the seriousness of our government in implementing the 2020-2025 election manifesto of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi, which emphasizes creating enabling environments so Tanzanians can benefit from fisheries resources, especially those found in the Tanzanian maritime economic zone and the high seas.

I would like to commend the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries for starting the implementation of this strategic project as per our election manifesto’s directions. I want to tell you, dear friends, due to the vastness of our country, the money allocated for construction is also a lot. I hear what you’ve been telling me, and we’re taking steps to address the challenges mentioned. The request you have given, regarding putting up a statue for the founders of the town, is essential. It’s a historical monument, and we have directed the funds for it. But remember, dear friends, the monument is a reminder of our history and should be seen as such.

Today is not the day for speeches, but I wanted to convey my appreciation for your warm reception. I’ll be back in Kilwa, and we’ll have a detailed discussion. Remember, you’ve been given a big task; use these vessels responsibly and help build our nation. May God bless you all.”