TANZANIA: ANALYSTS have praised the government over progress made in rural electrification which has currently reached 90 per cent after covering 10,987 villages.
Speaking to the ‘Daily News’ in separate interviews, the experts argued that completion of implementation of the programme will significantly improve people’s living standards in rural areas.
The commentators were reacting to recent development of the programme whereby the Rural Energy Agency (REA) report indicated that the rural electrification in the country is in the final stages as a total of 10, 987 villages (which is equivalent to 90 per cent) have been connected to power out of 12,318 villages.
In the interview they said the implementation of the programme will fast-track economic activities in rural areas and uplift people’s living conditions.
An economist-cum-investment banker, Dr Hildebrand Shayo, said attaining 90 per cent rural coverage is significant economically, adding if the remaining 10 per cent is accomplished as intended it will have significant multiplier effects.
Dr Shayo said rural electrification will have positive impact to the income and welfare of rural households through a variety of possible avenues including pathway ownership of non-agricultural businesses and pathway of education attainment.
He added that there is a chance that providing electricity to the economically weaker may hasten the growth of rural businesses, which will help pull people out of poverty.
“By implementing an agriculture-supported enterprises or factories programme in rural areas that have been electrified, the government can realise the benefits of rural electrification in reducing poverty and unemployment,” he said.
Adding: “Because it will enable the adoption of mechanised practices, this will aid in the modernisation of agriculture.”
In line he noted that, enterprise development initiatives should be planned to provide financial incentives, such as connection and appliance subsidies, to motivate individual end users in remote regions to use energy productively.
Dr Shayo’s idea was seconded by a Political- cum- economic analyst, Mr Goodluck Ng’ingo who said that connecting all villages to power will help to create employment among the people living in rural areas, adding that the move will enable them to be involved in various economic activities.
“Rural electrification will promote employment for young people in rural areas by establishing small-scale industries for processing crops after farming,” he added.
Moreover, he said rural electrification is in line with Building a Better Tomorrow (BBT) initiative in the agriculture sector as electricity will help reduce post-harvest losses for the crops after farming among farmers in rural areas since the electricity will be used to process the crops.
For his part, analyst and lecturer at Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy, Dr Ahmad Sovu, said the availing power in rural settings will help in simplifying various economic activities including agriculture and promote individual and national income.
Dr Sovu added that rural electrification will also speed up the establishment of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and make young people self-employed in various areas such as welding.
Rural electrification is among priorities in the 2022/23 government budget in implementing the Third National Five-Year Development Plan (FYDP III) for 2021/22 – 2025/26, the National Development Vision for 2025 and the ruling party’s 2020-2025 election manifesto.
One of the key interventions in efforts to optimise the energy sector as indicated in FYDP III is to strengthen the availability and reliability of power by increasing its generation capacity, transmission and distribution networks.
FYDP III also intends to promote and develop renewable energy technologies and projects (Biogas, Geothermal, LPG, Solar and Wind).
Giving the brief report of the REA III Round 2 project to President Samia Suluhu Hassan recently in Iramba, Singida Region, REA Director General, Engineer Hassan Said said so far REA has managed to connect 10, 987 villages which is equivalent to 90 per cent of the whole target.
“Our country has 12,318 villages and until end of September this year, we had been able to connect to electricity a total of 10,987 villages equivalent to 90 per cent,” REA DG underlined.
In particular, he said only 1,331 villages which is equal to 10 per cent of the total number of villages in the country remained to be connected to power, adding the contractors were in various construction sites to complete the project in the remaining ones.
Regarding connecting hamlets, Engineer Said expounded that so far out of 64,740 hamlets, 28,659, which is equivalent to 44 per cent, had already been supplied with electricity.
“In connecting hamlets, we are little bit behind, but there are plans to continue connecting electricity to more hamlets. So far out of 64,740 hamlets, 28,659 which is equivalent to 44 per cent have already been connected to power,” he emphasised.
In a related development, he said a total of seven electricity projects valued at 2.76 tri/- are being implemented. He said once the projects are completed, a total of 11,000 villages and hamlets are expected to benefit.