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MP proposes mini-hydro projects

13th February 2011
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President Jakaya Kikwete

A Member of Parliament has asked the government to start implementing mini-hydro power projects in the villages instead of depending on big ones to electrify.

Dr Binilith Mahenge (CCM-Makete) made the proposal mid this week when contributing to the parliamentary inauguration speech delivered by President Jakaya Kikwete on November 18 last year.

Dr Mahenge said Tanzania has not fully used rivers in various parts of the country to generate electricity while the rural population goes without power.

According to Dr Mahenge, church institutions have set up mini-hydro power projects to serve them as well as surrounding local communities, saying that such mini-hydro projects should be implemented through the Rural Energy Agency (REA) programme.

The MP’s proposal comes at a time when Tanzania is facing acute power shedding. On Friday the Speaker Anne Makinda urged the Minister for Energy and Minerals William Ngeleja to come up with an official statement on the ongoing power rationing.

The speaker’s intervention on the matter followed persistent questions from the MPs who wanted to be given an assurance on when power rationing  in the country would come to an end. On Friday the MPs blamed Ngeleja of giving unrealistic statements regarding plans to resolve power crisis once and for all.

The leader of the opposition in Parliament, Freeman Mbowe and his deputy Zuberi Kabwe Zitto were among the MPs who kept Ngeleja on his toes when the Speaker intervened by asking the minister to prepare a statement to be presented to the MPs.

Mbowe claimed in the House that Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) was losing Sh3billion on daily basis, saying that was crisis that needed special and immediate attention.

According to Ngeleja, Tanesco has a deficit of 230 megawatts. He said heavy funnel oil had already been bought to run Independent Power Tanzania Limited (PTL) plants at Tegeta in Dar es Salaam   to reduce power shedding.

He also added that two generators, one to be installed in Dar es Salaam and another in Mwanza have been imported.

January Makamba, the newly elected chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Energy and Minerals, told reporters on Friday in Dodoma that his committee would today visit Mtera Hydro Dam to assess the situation.

While contributing to the Parliamentary inauguration speech MPs blamed the government for lack of an explicit programme that ensured reliable and sustainable power generation.

Opposition MPs, including Zitto and Kigoma South legislator David Kafulila, said it was a shame for the nation that was about to  celebrate 50 years of independence  to be facing power deficits and shedding.

Zitto said in 1992 Malaysia was facing power deficits but today the Asian nation generates surplus of about 7,000 megawatts. On his part Kafulila noted that although Zimbabwe today faces political crisis, the power supply is stable and that there is a surplus there. .

Last week the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) issued a report on the state of the economy, stating that power rationing that started late last year and continuing in most parts of Tanzania may adversely affect GDP growth during the first quarter of this year.

SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY
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