TANZANIA needs 300 million US dollars (about 480bn/-) to enhance rural electrification from the current seven to 30 per cent, Energy and Minerals Minister, Professor Sospeter Muhongo has said.
The minister pointed out that to reach 2025 development vision, deliberate efforts had to be made to provide electricity to rural dwellers, who make over 70 per cent of the national population.
“Between two and three years, if we get this amount of money either as a grant or soft loan, we will make sure that rural electrification is stepped up,” he noted.
Prof Muhongo made the remarks in Dar es Salaam during talks with the Canadian Minister of International Development and Francophone, Mr Christian Paradis, which dwelt on how the two countries can cooperate in developing natural resources, including concentrated investment in energy sector.
He requested Canada to see how it could help Tanzania with funds, either as grant or soft loan, to complete the rural electrification mission.
Prof Muhongo noted that Tanzania’s population is projected to stand at 70 million and 90 million in 2025 and 2050 respectively, necessitating the need for the ministry to ensure that it sought alternative ways to generate more electricity.
“The current daily power consumption stands at 900 megawatts. The demand is also expected to shoot up as we have now embarked on rural electrification plan,” he noted.
Prof Muhongo told the visitors that less than two years, the demand for electricity has increased by 200 megawatts and it was, therefore, high time the ministry upgraded generation, distribution and transmission. “We are liaising with the government of Canada to come and invest in the energy sector.
They can fully invest in natural gas, coal and other forms of renewable energy,” he said. Mr Paradis promised that Canada and Tanzania would continue to partner on initiatives that would help the growth of Tanzania’s extractive sector.
Prof Muhongo explained that the recent discoveries of large deep-sea natural gas deposits will be transformative and potential for sustainable economic growth, so long as the resources were managed responsibly.
Also according to the communiqué, both governments of Tanzania and Canada agreed that responsible management means more than simply generating short-term revenues.
“For natural resources to truly transform Tanzania’s economic health, revenue drawn from extractive sector development must be reinvested in the infrastructure and essential services that set people, communities and on path towards sustainable prosperity,” the communiqué stated.
Prof Muhongo said that some of the assistance Tanzania has so far got from Canada includes the recently announced Energy Sector Capacity Building Project and the Skills Training for Employment Project, through which the Association of Canadian Community Colleges will assist 11 training institutions and some 1,200 Tanzanians to fulfill workforce requirements in extractive and tourism sectors.