Dar es Salaam. The Director General of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Masha Mshomba, said Monday that by October 31, 2023, the fund should have disposed of its controversial Dege Eco Village project in Kigamboni.
Mr Mshomba told editors from Tanzania’s media houses in Dar es Salaam that the fund has obtained a buyer willing to pay US$220 million (Sh501 billion) to buy the project whose construction stalled for more than seven years since 2016.
Mshomba’s announcement comes almost seven months after he revealed on February 8, 2023, that NSSF would not sell the project to anyone who will not commit to paying the money the fund incurred to construct the project.
READ MORE: NSSF Boss Speaks Out About Dege Eco Village
During his meeting with editors on Monday, Mr Mshomba said the fund has found a buyer who will buy the project as it is, noting that if the deal goes ahead, NSSF would have registered some profit by selling Dege Eco Village.
“The expectations are to sign the sale agreement before October 31, 2023,” Mr Mshomba told editors. “Together with other government authorities, we are now finalising all tender-related procedures, which include bargaining with the prospective buyer.”
Mr Mshomba did not name the buyer. But expressed optimism that the deal will go as NSSF expects it.
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.
After a long silence about the fate of the project, Mr Mshomba told journalists on February 8, 2023, that NSSF was yet to get a buyer for the project, saying that if the fund doesn’t find a buyer to cover all the costs it incurred while constructing the project, it would report to higher authorities to find other possible alternatives.
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.”
In February, Mr Mshomba explained that the project was put on sale after it was realised that its implementation would be tantamount to wasting contributors’ money and the fund’s resources.
“What we don’t expect is to make a loss in the selling of the project,” he noted then. “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 site in Rasi Dege, Kigamboni, where over 20,000 acres of land were expected to be developed to cater to Dar’s real estate needs.