The $66m expansion project of the Mwanza International Airport, which had been stalled due to lack of funds, will soon begin after receiving funding from the Tanzania Government.
The government granted TZS4bn ($2.31m), which kickstarted the project that began in June 2012, according to a statement from the Legal and Public Relations Department of the Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA).
The statement said: "Remittance of the funds has speeded up construction of the airport infrastructure, including a runway, cargo building and the control tower."
The project would include the renovation of the control tower, expansion of the runway from 2,000m to 3,300m and improvements to the car parking areas, passenger and cargo planes and the departure and arrival terminals.
China-based Beijing Construction and Engineering Group (BCEG) will be carrying out the expansion work at the airport. With the latest funds, the total money paid to BCEG totals TZS13bn ($7.52m).
Reportedly, the BCEG had threatened to pull out of the project after the Tanzania Government delayed the timely release of funds, leading to intervention by prime minister Mizengo Pinda.
Mwanza Airport manager Esther Madale was quoted by All Africa as saying that work at the airport is progressing smoothly.
"We expect that by January next year, expansion activities will reach at a remarkable stage, we only fear that rains might delay the work," Madale said.
Besides a $53m loan from the government, the project also secured a $13m loan from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID).