Ruvuma power stakeholders have blamed Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) for delaying implementation of the Ngaka coal-based electricity project expected to generate more than 400MW.
Some of the key stakeholders censuring Tanesco include Ruvuma residents, National Development Corporation (NDC) and Mbinga-East lawmaker Gaudence Kayombo.
In separate interviews, James Ngonyani and Editha Mapunda said they had been disappointed by media reports during Vice-President Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal’s visit to the region that the region has been facing critical power crisis.
“We have no power and the responsible utility (Tanesco) is not taking serious measures to solve the problem,” Ngonyani said.
She proposed that all those who are behind the delays in the power generation project be held to account.
NDC Director General Gideon Nasari complained to the VP during his tour that despite the fact that the government has 30 per cent stake in Tancoal Energy, Tanesco is still reluctant to kickstart the project. At least 70 per cent of shares are owned by Intra Energy Corporation Limited of Australia.
The project was scheduled to start producing 400 MW before 2014, according to Nasari, but Tanesco has not done anything since it signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU), more than a year ago.
Similar sentiments were raised by Mbinga-East MP Gaudence Kayombo, who mentioned Tanesco as the hurdle to the efforts to solve power problems in Mbinga and Songea Municipality.
“Honourable Vice President, Songea Municipality is in darkness, a big part of Mbinga town is also going without power because of the state power firm Tanesco,” he lamented.
Criticising Tanesco power plants, he said they use fuel and are expensive to run.
Responding, Tanesco Deputy Managing Director Boniface Njombe said the delays were caused by minor problems involving exchange of documents between the state firm and Tancoal Energy Limited investors.
He pledged that the two firms would soon sign a MoU for the implementation of the project.
Tanesco has been working hard to resolve power blues in Songea Municipality and Mbinga town, he said.
Commenting, the Vice President Dr Gharib Bilal said it is high time the government generated power from coal and connected the same to the national grid.
He ordered Tanesco to work on the project so that the country could start benefiting from the Ngaka project.
For his part, Tancoal Energy Limited executive chairperson Gareme Robertson urged the government to support the coal project saying it is one of the most reliable forms of energy in the world and has multiplier effects.
He said coal provides 29.6 per cent of global primary energy needs and generates 42 per cent of the world's electricity, but it is also environmentally friendly and has many benefits for the people of Tanzania.
Robertson explained that Tancoal is expected to generate over USD80m in revenue to the government from the mine.
In addition it would generate royalties (USD23m) plus revenue from stamp duty, VAT and other taxes.