AFTER registering significant strides in rural electrification, the government has now set focus on hamlets, targeting to ensure more people have access to electricity than ever before.
The government is also embarking on a National Grid Stabilisation project to alleviate power outages in the country.
Despite the achievements, President Samia Suluhu Hassan noted that much work ought to be done in order to connect all hamlets, the majority of which had yet to benefit from the government’s excellent work.
Speaking yesterday at the State House in Dar es Salaam during the signing ceremony for National Grid Stabilisation and improvement of rural electrification projects, President Samia stated that out of the 64,760 hamlets nationwide, only 28,424 are connected to electricity, equivalent to 43.9 per cent.
“While we boast that all villages will have electricity by December this year, which indicates that electricity will reach every village, we still have a lot of work to do to supply electricity to all the hamlets,” she noted.
Although we won’t complete all the hamlets, “this is the task that we are going to accomplish most aggressively right now,” Dr Samia added.
The Ministry of Energy has come up with an idea on electrifying hamlets and is putting together a proposal to be presented to the government, to be discussed, and to see what can be done. Their idea is to use domestic revenue in implementing that project, but there are development stakeholders who can also help, according to President Samia.
President Samia yesterday witnessed the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) signing 26 contracts for the National Grid Stabilization project worth 1.9tri/- that will be implemented in phases.
She also witnessed the Rural Energy Agency (REA) signing 14 contracts for improvement of rural electrification and connecting small-scale miners, health centres, agricultural projects, small-scale industries and water sources to power.
“Starting with the grid project, the government has set aside 400bn/-, and we received 100bn/- from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for this year and we now have the funds to carry out this project while other projects have already gotten underway,” according to Dr Samia.
She further said that the 4.42tri/- project, which will be carried out for four years in various regions, will include, among other things, the construction of 14 grid substations, the purchase of 700,000 prepaid electricity metres (Luku), and the acquisition of 27 power transformers.
“These initiatives are linked because it will be impossible to successfully distribute electricity throughout the communities without strengthening the national grid. These initiatives complement one another as we strengthen the system and provide electricity to the villages,” she said.
When the rural electrification project is completed, she continued, “We are dedicated to deliver development in rural and urban areas, therefore, when this project is completed, another service that we are determined to deliver to rural areas is ICT.”
Earlier, Minister for Energy January Makamba, stated that some projects on the grid stabilisation have already begun, including the project to connect Katavi Region to the national grid and the Nyakanazi-Kibondo-Kasulu project.
“This is the first phase, for those who have electricity challenges and their areas are not mentioned here; don’t worry because other phases are coming. We have started like this to be able to manage the project well,” minister Makamba said.
According to Mr Makamba, the CAG report of 2019 indicated that dilapidated infrastructure and poor maintenance were the reasons behind regular power outages in the country.
In search of solutions, the minister said, they came up with the Tanzania-Zambia (Taza) power interconnection project, North East Grid, South West Grid and Grid project; these are major infrastructure projects of electricity transmission.
He further said Tanzania has 6,000 kilometres of main electricity transmission lines and the need is 12,000 kilometres.
“When we say we produce 1,700 megawatt of electricity and we see that it is enough, we mean that many people have not been reached in the country. The more people have access to electricity the more demand emerge,” he said.
He added, “We will reach 5,000 megawatts of electricity production by 2025 due to the production projects in Kakono, Malagarasi, Rusumo and the gas project will give us 600 megawatts and the Kishapu solar energy, which will produce 150 megawatts will all be included in the national grid by next year.”
He said the ongoing construction of Julius Nyerere Hydroelectric Power Project (JNHPP) will generate 2,115 megawatts.
REA Director General Engineer Hassan Saidy said the 14 signed contracts will benefit 25 regions, with the projects mainly targeting to connect electricity to health centres, water projects, small-scale miners and farmers in rural areas.
“In partnership with the EU and France, we have set aside 385bn/- to carry out three significant projects, for which we have signed implementation agreements today. As a result, 1,522 hamlets in nine regions would gain access to power, benefiting 88,200 people,” he said.
Eng Saidy said another project is to deliver electricity to mining and agricultural projects, which will deliver services to 336 locations in 25 regions of mainland Tanzania. A total of 63 health centres and 333 water pumps will benefit from the project.
“Until now, 69 per cent of the villages have been connected to electricity; out of 12,345 villages countrywide, 9,467 are connected to electricity and we have 2,878 villages left. Contractors are continuing with their work in various areas,” Eng Saidy explained.