Energy Minister, Dr Medard Kalemani, has assured Kagera residents that by May, this year, about 95 per cent of the villages will have been connected to the national grid.
Dr Kalemani said this during a meeting with Kagera Regional Commissioner (RC) Brig-Gen Marco Gaguti when he visited him on Thursday afternoon after his arrival as he was heading to Kyaka for inspecting power lines.
“I can proudly announce that within a short period most of Kagera villages will have been connected to the national grid. Transmission lines from the national grid have so far been extended to Nyakanazi and Itako and from there they will be extended to other parts of the region, including Muleba, Bukoba Rural and Missenyi districts,” he said.
Dr Kalemani expressed his satisfaction with the implementation of the Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Project (RRFHP) that would 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 an acute shortage of electricity experienced by in Burundi, Tanzania and Rwanda, which negatively affected their economies.
The project will generate 80MW of renewable energy, relatively low cost power to the national grids of the three countries shared equally, with each country receiving an additional 165GWH per year per country.
The additional power will benefit about 1,146,000 people in the three countries – at least 520,000 in Burundi (5.4 per cent), 159,000 in Tanzania (0.34 per cent) and 467,000 in Rwanda (4 per cent).
He assured Tanzanians that plans were underway to link more areas to the national grid, adding that the efforts the government had made yielded good outcomes by extending the national grid to Bulyankuru-Geita and Kigoma-Nyakanazi.
“All projects are implemented by Tanesco because it is competent. We will not be hiring other contractors,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Kalemani said Tanzania and Uganda recently signed another Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the supply of electricity to Uganda-Tanzania border villages.
The rural electrification MoU was signed between Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Augustine Mahiga, and Ugandan Minister for Energy Simon D’Ujanga. Dr Mahiga signed on behalf of the Minister for Energy and Minerals.
In the main agreement, the two countries signed an agreement on the implementation of a project for electricity supply to Nangoma Village located at the Uganda-Tanzania border and other villages around the area on the Tanzanian side.
Dr Kalemani, who witnessed the signing ceremony, revealed that Rural Electrification Agency (REA-Tanzania) would fund the 33 kilovolts at $36,923.06.
Similarly, Uganda’s Rural Electrification Agency (REA-Uganda) will cover the construction of 7.5km of 33 kilovolts from the border to Bukwali, Gamuli, Bushungulu, Nangoma, Omurushenye, Mizinda and Lukunyu villages at $724,239.06.
Dr Mahiga assured Uganda of continued friendship and support to speed up development for the benefit of the two countries.
Cordial relations between Tanzania and Uganda have existed for many decades, though they were daunted by the 1978/79 invasion of Kagera by Idd Amin’s forces, resulting in a two-year war.