ABOUT half of Tanzania rural population now has access to electricity, thanks to huge investment made in the energy sector, a senior official said.
A latest study conducted by an autonomous body-Rural Energy Agency (REA) in collaboration with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Ministry of Energy and Minerals shows 49.5 per cent of rural dwellers have access to electricity.
The average nation electricity access stands at 67.5 per cent, up from 10 per cent in 2007. Apparently, power connectivity for rural area stood at 16.9 per cent as of December last year. Energy and Minerals Minister Prof Sospeter Muhongo said when inaugurating a new Rural Energy Board here the (rural energy access) number had increased from 2.5 per cent in 2007.
“There has been serious misleading information about the actual figures, but am confident with the latest report,” Prof Muhongo said issuing directives to the new board to come-up with new target for 2019. The three-year term board comprise eight members.
It will be chaired by Dr Gideon Kaunda, a lawyer representing Tanzania Private Sector Foundation as per the Rural Energy Act, 2005. Other Members are Engineer Innocent Luoga (Ministry of Energy and Minerals), Ms Happiness Mhina (Tanzania Consumers Advocacy Council), Ms Stella Mandago (Special representative of donors --African Development Bank), and Ms Amina Chinja (Regional Administration and Local Governments).
Others are Mr Theobald Sabi (Tanzania Bankers Association), Mr Michael Nyagoga (Ministry of Finance and Planning) and Ms Scholastica Jullu (Civil Society Organisation). As the government move to implement a grand energy transformation project--REA III, the minister ordered to rescreen all firms that worn contracts to implement the project in various part of the country.
“Last project we faced eight contractors who failed to fulfill their job. Most company have no financial capacity, expertise, ability and technical knowhow thus ending up with white-elephant projects,” he said. The board also must ensure all sub-contractors are locally owned.
He banned importation of products and tools that can be locally accessed from local manufacturers. “You just need to ensure quality and value for money,” he said.
Permanent Secretary Prof James Mdoe said the board will be charged with promoting rural socio-economic development by facilitating extended access to modem energy services for the productive economic uses, health and education, clean water, civil security and domestic applications.
REA Director General Engineer Gissima Nyamo-Hanga told the minister the new rural electrification seek to connect over 78,000 villages which were left during the first and second phase of rural energy initiative.