MPs demand Dar Port flow meters, want Tanesco paid

06Feb 2018
Felister Peter
The Guardian
MPs demand Dar Port flow meters, want Tanesco paid

TWO parliamentary standing committees has called for the urgent procurement and installation of flow meters at Dar es Salaam Port and the immediate payment of 277bn/- electricity users owe the state-run Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco).

The Parliamentary Infrastructure Development Committee has demanded that the flow meters be installed to end the long-running under-declaration of petroleum imports and the consequent loss of revenues.

It submitted in the National Assembly here yesterday that the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) cannot properly determine the amount of fuel imported fuel owing to the absence of the meters.

The committee’s chairman, Prof Norman Sigalla, said: “The government should facilitate the procurement and installation of the flow meters at the Dar es Salaam port since the authorities concerned are effectively unable to verify the underdeclaration of the fuel imported by unscrupulous traders.”

He also pleaded for other improvements at the port to increase its efficiency and enable the gateway to compete regionally and boost government revenue collections all the more.

Prof Sigalla noted that the construction of seven berths was only 15 per cent done, adding that berths 12 through 14 would be constructed during the second phase of improvements to the port “as the government is completing the feasibility study”.

The Parliamentary Energy and Minerals Committee meanwhile reported that, despite government efforts to establish the bulk petroleum procurement arrangement, there are still several challenges resulting from lack of flow meters at the port.

The committee said the absence of the has eaten into the efficiency in offloading fuel, with only 400 litres now offloaded per hour instead of the recommended 1,200 litres.

Deogratius Ngalawa, the committee’s deputy chairperson, recommended that the government reduce the oil marking cost which now stands at 12/- per litre.

“We must reduce charges on imported fuel to give relief to the final consumers… The oil marking cost in our country is much higher than in Kenya (1/-) and in Uganda (2/-),” he said.

He underscored the need to construct more tanks for storing fuel so as to protect oil importing companies from incurring needless losses as the government also lost revenue.

The MP lack of the said tanks meant that fuel is not offloaded from the ships in a manner that would enable the government and the importing companies to earn the expected revenues.

In February 2016 Prime Minister Majaliwa suspended Weights and Measures Agency CEO Magdalena Chuwa over failure of oil flow meters at the Dar es Salaam Port to function for over five years.

Majaliwa said the government bought the meters at 1.2 million US dollars (about 2.5bn/-), noting that dumping them did not make sense as unscrupulous officials were tampering with the internal system and thus denying the government of revenue.

The Parliamentary Energy and Minerals Committee meanwhile urged electricity users in the country, among them the Union and Zanzibar governments, to settle the cumulative 277bn/- debt they owe Tanesco “so as to relieve the loss-making utility firm of the burden it is carrying”.

The committee was concerned that since Tanesco has been operating at a loss, customers with huge debts should immediately settle them to enable the national power utility firm to improve services.

Its deputy chairperson, Deogratius Ngalawa, said: “Such huge debts affect the firm’s performance owing to the high costs of electricity production… The debts have been increasing annually, and the government does not seem determined to settle them.” He was presenting in the House the committee’s report for the period between January 2017 and January 2018.

He said Tanesco has been spending “too much money” on the generation of specific amounts of power for customers not connected to the national grid.

“Until December 2017, Tanesco has been struggling to pay 913bn/- to various suppliers, as the government has only disbursed 14 per cent of the total amount allocated for the company in the 2017/2018 financial year,” he submitted.

He said in the current financial year, the government was to have given the company 293.41bn/- but it has only provided 42.13bn/-, adding that the firm collected 73bn/- from various sources (equivalent to 84 per cent of its collection target of 866bn/-).

The committee expressed concern over “the poor state of electricity services especially in Dar es Salaam region, where customers experience frequent power cuts”.

Ngalawa challenged the government to make timely disbursements of funds allocated for rural electrification under the Rural Electrification Authority (REA), saying by December 2017, REA had been provided with 191bn/- out of the 235bn/- that was supposed to be disbursed between July and December 2017. The total budget for REA in the 2017/2018 financial year is 469bn/-.

He faulted the implementation of electricity projects in rural areas by REA, charging the agency with using second-hand machines and transformers and thus failing to meet the recommended standards.

Early last year, President John Magufuli directed Tanesco to disconnect power to all defaulters owing it huge sums, without sparing even government institutions.

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