Kagera assured of ‘power for all’ in villages

InstallIng electricity in rural areas. according to government predictions, all villages in the country should have electricity by 2025. (File photo)

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ELECTRICITY power is a catapult which Tanzanians should utilise by establishing medium and large industries. The Fifth Phase government under President John Magufuli is determined to ensure that by 2025 all villages in the country are connected with electricity.

To-date about 4,395 villages out of 12,268 villages in the country were connected with elec tricity implying 36 per cent. About 337 villages out of 668 villages in Kagera Region had already been connected with electricity, equivalent to 52 per cent.

The remaining 321 villages would get electricity by year 2021. Kagera residents should utilize the opportunity by constructing industries in line with the government resolve of industrialisation by year 2025.

The Director General of Rural Energy Agency (REA), Engineer Cissimi Nyamohanga revealed that a total of 45.43bn/- had been set aside for implementation of the two-year REA 111 programme in Kagera region.

About 141 villages in the region will get electricity supply by year 2019 while the remaining 180 villages would be covered by end of March 2021. For the past three weeks Bukoba Municipality has been buzzing with visitors including government ministers from Uganda and their counterparts in Tanzania who held a meeting and discussed several issues for mutual benefit among the two nations.

Tanzania and Uganda last week signed yet another Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the supply of electricity to villages along the UgandaTanzania border.

The rural electrification MoU was signed between the Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Augustine Mahiga, and Uganda’s Minister for Energy, Mr Simon D’Ujanga.

Dr Mahiga signed on behalf of the Minister for Energy and Minerals. In the main agreement, the two countries put pen to paper on the implementation of a project for electricity supply to Nangoma village, located at the Uganda-Tanzania border and other villages around the area on the Tanzanian side.

Deputy Minister for Energy and Minerals, Dr Medard Kalemani, who witnessed the signing ceremony, revealed that the Rural Electrification Agency (REA-Tanzania) would fund the 33 kilovolt electricity at a cost of US dollars 36,923.06.

Similarly, Uganda’s Rural Electrification Agency (REA-Uganda) would foot the bill for the construction of 7.5 kilometres of another 33 kilovolt from the border to Bukwali, Gamuli, Bushungulu, Nangoma, Omurushenye, Mizinda and Lukunyu villages at a cost of US dollars 724,239.06.

Dr Mahiga assured Uganda of continued friendship and support to speed up development for the mutual benefit of the two nations. Cordial relations between Uganda and Tanzania have existed for many decades, though they were daunted by the 1978/79 invasion of the Kagera Salient by Idd Amin’s forces resulting in a bitter two-year war.

In 2000 the two countries conducted border demarcation where several Ugandans found themselves on Tanzanian soil. Likewise, several Tanzanians separated by the border marking found themselves on Ugandan soil.

Residents whom the Boundary Re-affirmation Programme (BRP) is likely to apportion to the Ugandan soil have been asked to remain good ambassadors by observing the law.

Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Minister William Lukuvi issued the appeal after inspecting the Tanzania-Uganda border at Kakunyu and Bugango villages, in Misenyi District.

He was accompanied by four deputy ministers- Suzan Kolimba (Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation), Seleman Jaffo (Regional Administration and Local Governments), Hamad Masauni (Home Affairs) and Isaac Kamwere (Water and Irrigation).

Trade between Uganda and Tanzania is very healthy. In 2013 Tanzania exported $62.2 million worth of goods to Uganda, mainly machinery, agriculture products and medicines.

The Balance of trade is very even and in 2013 Uganda exported $62.6 million worth of goods to Tanzania, mainly corn and telecommunication equipment.

The oil pipeline whose construction was flagged off by President John Magufuli and his counterpart from Uganda, Yoweri Museveni over the weekend is likely to trigger other economic opportunities.

Such other economic opportunities that are likely to emerge later, depending on government plans, include the construction of oil refinery in Tanga and a railway line from the coastal city to Uganda via Musoma.

The implementation of the oil pipeline by the two EA countries is likely to act as a catalyst in reaching the decision to construct the railway line, an idea that has been in papers for some time now.

President Magufuli nodded to a request by his Ugandan counterpart Museveni to transport gas to Uganda for iron smelting. President Museveni had appealed to Dr Magufuli to consider constructing a gas pipeline from Tanzania to Uganda along the same route of the crude oil pipeline from Hoima to Tanga, whose construction was launched last week.

On the other hand, President Museveni hailed the government of Tanzania for scrapping taxes on all imported materials to be used in undertaking the 3.5 million US dollars (about 8trl/-) project, the largest private funded initiative in the region.

Dr Magufuli disclosed that Tanzania had offered the initiative as a way of encouraging the Ugandan government to use the Tanga Port in a deal which a barrel will be charged 12.5 US dollars (about 27,500/-).

Dr Magufuli revealed further that the Ugandan government has agreed to release its experts to study hydrocarbons materials in Lake Tanganyika and Eyasi, stating that should Tanzania strike oil it will transport the energy through the pipeline.

The tax exemption is meant to reduce construction costs of the pipeline which is expected to transport 216,000 barrels of the precious liquid from oil fields in Hoima to Tanga Port for export.

Discovery of natural resources in East Africa requires countries in the region to develop infrastructure towards attaining modern economy. Proper utilisation of these resources would cushion us against depending on developed countries for our development, President Museveni remarked during the launch of the construction of a crude-oil pipeline from Hoima in Uganda to Tanga Port in Tanzania, adding,

“For instance now that you (Tanzania) have embarked on reviving Air Tanzania, you are now assured of affordable jet fuel to be produced from Uganda.

Last year, Uganda chose the Tanzanian route to export its crude oil amid competition from Kenya, which also wanted to clinch the deal to transport oil to yet to be constructed Lamu Port in NorthEastern Kenya.

President Museveni made the decision to construct the pipeline through Tanzania during the 13th Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP) summit in Kampala, which was also attended by Presidents Paul Kagame and Uhuru Kenyatta of Rwanda and Kenya, respectively.

The envisaged pipeline through Tanzania will be of benefit not only to Uganda and Tanzania, but also other countries in the region such as Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The 24-inch conduit to cover 1,403 kilometres is expected to convey 200,000 barrels of crude oil per day for exports. The project is expected to create 15,000 jobs during its execution, which upon completion, will employ between 1,000 and 2,000 people.

It will pass through Kagera, Geita, Shinyanga, Tabora and Singida to Tanga. Uganda has so far discovered 6.5 billion barrels of the precious liquid along the Lake Albert basin.

The first finding was made by Hardman Resources in 2006 which was later acquired by Tullow Oil.

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