Dar es Salaam. The Director General of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Masha Mshomba said on Wednesday that the fund is yet to get a buyer for its Dege Eco Village project in Kigamboni.
Mr Mshamba made the revelation in the capital Dodoma while speaking to journalists, almost two months since NSSF revealed the plans to sell the controversial project.
“We haven’t obtained the buyer for the project,” Mr Mshamba told journalists. “And if we fail to get a buyer who will pay the cost that we have incurred for the project it means that we will re-announce the tender.”
NSSF announced on October 21, 2022, that it was disposing of the project, estimated to be worth $653 million (about Sh1.3 trillion), and prospective buyers had until November 14, 2022, to express their interests.
In its announcement, NSSF said the winner would be announced on the same date – November 14 – during a meeting it’d convene with all tenderers at the 7th floor of the Benjamin William Mkapa Pension Towers (Tower B) in the city centre.
But before Wednesday, Tanzanians were in the dark, not knowing whether the buyer had been obtained or not.
During his briefing with reporters on Wednesday, Mshomba said NSSF would be willing to dispose of the project if it is at least able to recover the costs the fund invested in the project.
“If that won’t happen, then [NSSF] will report to higher authorities [within the government] to find a possible way forward,” he said.
In its October 21, 2022, notice, NSSF did not explain why it was selling the project to a prospective investor.
But its intention to dispose of the mega investment comes almost seven years after NSSF admitted that its contract with Azimio Housing Estates to form Special Purpose Vehicle Company, Hifadhi Builders Limited, was “fraudulently entered.”
On Wednesday, Mr Mshomba explained that the project was put on sale after it was realized that it’s implementation would be tantamount to wasting contributors’ money as well as the fund’s resources.
“What we don’t expect is to make a loss in the selling of the project,” he noted. “With investors coming to Tanzania, we believe we will get the buyer who fits our qualifications.”
“Let me assure [NSSF members] that the sale of the project is in their best interests as well as the interest of the nation in general.” Mshomba added.
NSSF’s announcement that it was selling the project also came after almost seven years of no activity at the project’s site in Rasi Dege, Kigamboni, where over 20,000 acres of land were expected to be developed to cater for Dar’s real estate needs.
Lukelo Francis is The Chanzo journalist based in Dar es Salaam Tanzania. He can be reached at email@example.com.