Underperforming REA contractors irk MPs

LEGISLATORS have expressed dissatisfaction on the widely underperformance displayed by many contractors hired to connect electricity in various villages across the country.

Contributing to the one-year implementation report of the Parliamentary Committee for Energy and Minerals in the General Assembly, yesterday the legislators indicated that the task was too big for some of the contractors, calling upon the government to review the contractual terms.

Msalala Legislator, Mr Iddi Kassim (CCM) noted that the contractor who has been given the task to connect electricity in Kahama Region was incapable of completing the task in the required time.

“The job is supposed to be carried out in 18 months’ time but to-date the contractor has only managed to complete 23 per cent of the work,” said Mr Kassim.

He noted that there was only a single contractor taking into account that the region comprises three constituencies including Ushetu, Msalala and Kahama itself, calling on the government to treat the issue as a special case.

The legislator revealed that despite not seeing any good progress the contractor has also been given an extension of 2 km per village for the project.

“We have promised our people that in 18 months their houses will be connected to power but we don’t see any hope,” stated the MP.

On the other hand, Mbulu Urban MP-CCM, Mr Zacharia Issaay hinted that during the budget session, the Parliament was presented with the REA implementation report which raised a lot of expectation and hope among the people.

“Majority of the people in the villages are waiting to be reached by REA projects because electricity is an important source of energy in their everyday lives. There are a number of villages to this moment that have not been reached by the project in the outskirts of Mbulu Urban,” the MP complained.

Elaborating, he said, Mbulu Urban comprises villages and streets, and in some villages the contractor has spent about two years without carrying out any work there.

He called upon the government to assess the implementation of the project, and if possible, review the process of granting the contract to the contractors.

“The delay might be because the 2.7bn/- equivalent to 99 per cent of the budget cited here was being generated from internal sources. Before going to next budget let’s carry out an assessment in Manyara Constituency to check on their strategic plans,” he stressed.

Ms Issaay cited an example whereby a contractor has been given the work of connecting electricity but three years down the line now nothing has been done, apart from just erecting poles.

He advised the government to change the modality of awarding works to contractors, stressing that the contract in Manyara should be assessed.

In his reaction, Minister for Energy Mr January Makamba acknowledged to have received the concerns relating to the execution of the REA projects.

In realisation of the challenges related to excessive delay, he said the system from procurement, supervision, and evaluation will be changed.

“A contractor will not get a new contract unless the first work he is implementing has reached at least 60 per cent…as advised by the committee. A contractor who will have completed the work early will get another contract,” said Mr Makamba.

In facilitating the project execution, the minister disclosed that 136 youths have been employed to supervise REA projects across the country, indicating that they will be mandated to report the progress of the project to the various authoritative bodies.

Explaining on REA’s densification projects, he noted it was true that the main project reached all villages but not all hamlets.

He pointed out that 80 per cent of the villages have been reached and 44 per cent of hamlets have also been reached, adding that reaching all villages does not imply all hamlets.

Presenting the committee report earlier, Mr Yahaya Masare who is a member of the committee revealed that the execution of REA projects in some parts has not been completed on time due to various reasons including shortage of equipment and limited administration capacity.

According to the report, the delay was hampering economic prosperity of the villages and people living in the areas.

The committee advised the government to keenly follow up on the projects and take stern measures against underperforming contractors.

The committee also suggested that contract procedures should be reviewed so that underperforming contractors can be suspended.

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