18 September 2013, Dar es Salaam – Tanzania’s Minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof Sospeter Muhongo, has urged East African Community, EAC, member states to speed up implementation of delayed projects for mutual benefit of their citizens.
Minister Muhongo made the call on Tuesday morning while opening the 6th Energy Ministers’ Meeting held in Bukoba Municipality. The ministers also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) leading to implementation of the Regional Rusumo Falls Hydro-electric project to cost 340 million US dollars.
He noted that the Rusumo project had been planned for almost 40 years since 1974. Implementation was delayed due to various obstacles including inefficiency, lack of professionalism, incompetence and corruption, he said.
“As we sign the agreement, we should aim at quality and timely delivery of services. We must also move from rhetoric to action. Many projects were in the books but now it is time to start implementation for the benefit of our people,” he said.
Minister Muhongo said many African countries ranked far below in terms of power consumption, something which must be addressed immediately. Citing data, Minister Muhongo said while South Africa was a leading power consumer in the African continent with 4,347 KW per hour, other countries had very low power consumption per person in units.
They include Kenya (133 units), Tanzania (79 units), Uganda (55 units), Burundi (26 units) while Rwanda had 30 units. He noted that the US is the leading giant in power consumption with 12,000 units per person.
Minister Muhongo thanked the World Bank (WB) which agreed to finance the Rusumo hydro-power project with an initial loan of 340 million US dollars.
The African Development Bank (AFDB) had also shown commitment to give a loan amounting 72 million US dollars. He urged Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania to use the money wisely because taxpayers would repay the loan at a later date.
Rwandan Minister for Infrastructure, Prof Silas Rwakabamba, noted that the signing of the agreement was an historic event, which would assure the three countries of power connectivity for economic development.
He also said it was not the policy of Kigali government to have monopoly in the Rusumo project, but rather individuals to be employed under the project would depend on qualification and competence.
Burundi Minister for Energy and Mines, Mr Manilakiza Cone, also hailed the signing of the agreement. He noted that enhancing of power generation would advance goals of integration not only among EAC member countries but in the whole SADC region.
– Tanzania Daily News