By John Namkwahe
Dar es Salaam — President John Magufuli today, April 2, landed at Mtwara airport for his official tour of the region, the second since he became President in 2015.
Speaking at a function to inaugurate the expansion of Mtwara Airpot President John Magufuli ordered an immediate release of Sh50 billion to be paid to the cashew nut farmers whose documents have been verified, but are yet to receive their payments.
“The payments will be issued to the farmers whose documents have already been verified,” said Dr Magufuli.
The President’s directive comes at a time when some of the farmers in the region who sold their produce to government had been complaining nonpayment.
Initially, the government had pledged to issue the remaining payments to the farmers by March 31. But it failed to do so, on the grounds that it was still conducting the verification process.
“We could not issue the payments to the farmers without conducting the verification process. The process aimed at ensuring that the money goes to the right persons and not the ghost farmers,” explained Dr Magufuli.
He added: We have managed to identify at least 780 persons who do not own cashew nut farms. They illegally bought the product from the farmers.
Furthermore, the President said the government was contemplating to process at least 15, 000 tonnes of cashew nuts.
On the expansion of the airport, President Magufuli said the move aims at improving the infrastructure at the airport and attract more international tourists, among others.
“The government has embarked on plans to revive its aviation sector. This project is among the similar 11 projects that are being implemented in other regions,” said President Magufuli.
Meanwhile, President issued a five-day ultimatum to the Ministry of Works and that of Finance to issue advance payment to Beijing Construction Engineering Group (BCEG) with a view to speeding up the project which is scheduled to be complete by September 2020.