THE government has started reviewing electricity tariffs to enable the majority of Tanzanians to have access to the crucial source of energy.
Energy Minister, Dr Medard Kalemani disclosed this during President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s public gathering with youth in Mwanza Region, yesterday.
Dr Kalemani observed that execution of the 2115 megawatts Julius Nyerere Hydroelectric Power Project (JNHPP) has already exceeded the 52 per cent, which was attained last month paving the way for its completion in June, next year.
The minister notified the president that the ministry has started implementing her order of reviewing electricity pricing, noting that upon project’s completion Tanzanians would experience a huge relief in accessing electricity.
“We are confident that the electricity which is going to be produced will be enough, reliable and affordable to many Tanzanians,” said Dr Kalemani.
He called upon Tanzanians to prepare themselves well to use the electricity once the project is completed.
Meanwhile, Dr Kaleman has invited investors to seize the attractive and conducive business climate by establishing industries, also assuring them of reliable electricity.
He made the assurances over the weekend, after a Ministers’ Consultative Meeting (MCO) that was attended by Energy Ministers from the three East African Community (EAC) nations- Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania held at Rusumo on the Tanzania-Rwanda border.
Rwanda was represented by the Infrastructure Minister, Ambassador Claver Gatete, Burundi was represented by the Minister for Energy, Ibrahim Uwizeye and Dr Kalemani.
Speaking during a press briefing, Dr Kalemani was confident that once the hydro project is completed, it will enhance social economic growth, reinforce regional cooperation, partnership and peace within the East African region.
"Tanzania is an attractive country for large investments. The nation boasts of reliable electricity following the near completion of several projects including the Julius Nyerere Hydro Power Project that will generate about 2,115 MW," he said.
Dr Kalemani disclosed that the Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project (RRFHP) had reached about 80 per cent and was expected to be completed by December, this year.
"We (ministers) have committed the contractor to ensure that the project is completed even before December this year. The project is a good initiative that will improve the socioeconomic benefits," he said.
He also appealed to ‘wananchi’ in Kagera, Geita and Kigoma regions to grab investment opportunities by increasing production of cash and food crops to enable the nation to get raw materials needed in its industrialization drive.
The region is directly bordering three East African Community (EAC) countries - Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, while Kenya can also be reached through Lake Victoria.
“The region is also a gateway to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with a combined market of around 300 million. This is a big opportunity to increase our trade relations,” he said.
He, however, cautioned people surrounding the project to avoid extravagant usage of water from the Kagera and Ruvubu rivers to avoid damaging the Rusumo water dam.
Implementation of the Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project (RRFHP), will enhance regional cooperation, support sustainable management of the Kagera River Basin, promote growth and poverty reduction and also manage environmental aspects.
The project will address the acute shortage of electricity experienced by the three countries, which negatively affect their economies.
Once operational, the project will generate 80 MW of renewable clean energy, relatively low cost power to the national grids of the three countries shared equally, with each country receiving an additional 165 GWH per year, per country.
"Shortage of electricity in these countries and indeed the entire Nile Basin region has resulted into an underdeveloped manufacturing sector, hence limited options for business development necessary for income, reduce dependency on toxic fuel and limited opportunities for modernizing and improving the quality of key infrastructure including health care, water supply and other social services," noted Dr Kalemani.
While at Rusumo, Minister Kalemani disclosed that the World Bank (WB) had donated US 340 million dollars for the construction of the power plant, while the African Development Bank (ADB) had donated US 128.6 million dollars for construction of transmission lines.
He emphasised the need to enhance regional cooperation through implementation of sustainable development projects for socio-economic development of their countries.
Rwandan Minister for Infrastructure, Ambassador Claver Gatete, who also chaired the meeting, explained that the completion of the Rusumo Hydro Power Project was a milestone and would speed development.