Kigoma North MP Kabwe Zuberi Zitto has come forward to set the record clear over what he termed as ‘misreported facts’ about how Independent Power Producers (IPP) pocket a huge chunk of money from Tanesco in capacity charges and power purchasing cost.
Speaking during a special programme aired by one of the FM Radios in Dar es Salaam yesterday the MP also refuted claims that he said Symbion Power, one of the power producers, was to blame for the poor financial state of the public utility firm.
However, he said it was undeniable that the public utility firm pays billions of shillings to independent power producers each month in capacity charge and power purchasing cost
Giving an example Zitto said in 2010 Tanesco collected a sum of Sh 466 billion while it spent Sh 492 billion for production of and purchasing of power annually.
“Tanzania pays huge sums of money monthly in capacity charges for independent power producers who sell power to Tanesco,” he said.
“Symbion power is one of such company, working hard to bring energy solution to the country and has never been accused of corruption,” he added.
He said he had personally been working with Symbion Powers for their projects in Kigoma as well as partnering with one of the pension funds in order to bring local participation in the sector.
Though Zitto did not want to disclose the name of the pension fund it is understood that the National Social Security Fund ( NSSF) is planning to get involved in the power sector.
“Symbion is transparent and we welcome it in Tanzania. I however, understand that Independent Power Producers agreements are skewed towards the power generation companies and the capacity charges that the country pays are huge,” the outspoken opposition MP emphasised.
Zitto’s clarification has come two days after Symbion Power came out to tell the public that Tanesco owed it a total of $ 20 million for the power generated by the power plants the US-based firm built in Arusha and Dodoma.
“Last year when the country was in crisis and Tanzanians were facing intolerable suffering, we stepped in and constructed two power plants, one in Dodoma and another in Arusha.
“Both of them are operational and are delivering much-needed electricity to the country,” Symbion Power CEO Paul Hinks told The Guardian on Sunday over the phone from the United States mid this week.
“To date, Symbion’s invoices for the monthly bills have not been paid and this is August 2012. I wonder how many companies would have the confidence that we have demonstrated in Tanesco by building two power plants and delivering electricity and still not get paid our monthly fees,” he told this paper.
Elaborating, the Symbion CEO said the only payments they have received so far are for their 120MW plant at Ubungo in Dar es Salaam. “We haven’t been worried because we trust Tanesco and we trust the government and we know Tanesco have been having a tough time recently,” he said
The US-based energy firm is one of three power companies contracted by the government to assist in the implementation of a broader and government public-private partnership drive aimed to get Tanzania out of power shortages.
Under the national power-rescue plan, Symbion Power was contracted to produce 205 MW and supply them to Tanesco.