DAR ES SALAAM, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Wednesday laid the foundation stone for the second construction phase of the standard gauge railway (SGR) from Morogoro region to Makutupora in Dodoma region covering 426 kilometers.
Speaking in the capital Dodoma shortly before he had laid the foundation stone, Magufuli said upon completion the SGR will help create 30,000 direct employment opportunities and some 60,000 indirect jobs.
"The SGR and a dry port in Dodoma will boost the development of central regions," said Magufuli, adding that after construction of the Dar es Salaam-Dodoma railway line, the government will extend the SGR line to Mwanza covering 1,219 kms.
The total cost from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza is estimated at 7 billion U.S. dollars.
The 522-km-long Dar-Dodoma line is being constructed by Turkish firms.
The SGR will also help ease the flow of goods and people in the neighboring landlocked countries of Uganda, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and Rwanda.
For his part, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa urged all Tanzanians to support the president in his efforts aimed at making the east African nation an industrial economy.
"The fifth phase government is determined to improve people's lives, thus the need for the public to support the initiatives rather than opposing everything the government is doing," he said.
Makame Mbarawa, the Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, said upon completion, the railway line will be able to transport 10,000 tonnes of cargo at one time.
"We have lost customers at the Dar es Salaam port due to unreliable rail transport but after this project we will be able to recall them," he said.
Turkish Ambassador to Tanzania, Ali Davuglu, said the railway line will accelerate economic development in the country and improve international relations.
In May last year, Magufuli launched the first construction phase of the SGR from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro.
Upon its completion, Tanzania will have a fast and modern passenger train with a speed of 160 kph while the freight train will have a top speed of 120 kph.
Tanzania has approached the World Bank and the government of South Africa for support.