Govt increases rural power budget by 50 pc
IN the struggles to ensure Tanzanians are supplied with reliable electricity the Ministry of Energy and Minerals in the coming financial year has increased the budget for rural electrification by 50 per cent, from 357bn/- in the 2015/2016 fiscal year to 534bn/Tabling 2016/17 budget estimates in Parliament in Dodoma last week the minister, Prof Sospeter Muhongo, said all projects under the Rural Energy Agency (REA) will be implemented as previously planned.
Prof Muhongo said the power access level has also gone up by four per cent hence about 40 per cent of Tanzanians are now connected to power compared to 36 per cent last year.
All in all 94 per cent of the total budget of the ministry for the next financial year has been allocated for development projects, he said out of the ministry’s total 2016/2017 fiscal year budget of 1.12 trillion/-.
He said 1.05tri/- will be channelled to fund development projects while the remaining 66.2bn/- will cater for recurrent expenditure.
He added: “Basing on section 43 (a) of 2015/2020 CCM election manifesto, which directs the government to increase power production, the ministry has allocated 98 per cent of the development project funds for the energy sector.”
“REA is now in the process of getting a contractor who will supply power to 121 villages where the Iringa-Shinyanga Grid passes through,” he said.
Prof Muhongo explained that the government is going on with the implementation of electricity supply industry reform strategy and roadmap in a move aimed at transforming energy sector.
He assured the House that by 2019/2020, there were some power projects that are due for completion and which will greatly help increase power accessibility in the country. The projects are Singida-ArushaNamanga (400kV), BulyanhuluGeita (220kV), Geita-Nyakanazi (220kV), North-East Grid (400kV) and Somanga-Kinyerezi (400Kv).
The minister also said completion of the 542km MtwaraDar es Salaam gas pipeline project has, among other things, helped rein in the cost of electricity generation. The government has also earmarked some 800m/- for setting up the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant in the coming financial year.
He said the ministry was in the final stages of putting in place a Petroleum Upstream Regulatory Authority (PURA) to control all issues related to petroleum products. PURA, according to the minister, is set to be a full regulatory body by July.
Prof Muhongo also affirmed that the government has completed establishment of Petroleum Bulk Procurement Agency (PBPA) since January.
The agency, among other assignments, is tasked with handling all activities that were being done by the Petroleum Importation Coordinator Limited (PICL). PICL’s key role was to manage petroleum bulk procurement system.