Friday, July 5, 2013

Energy stakeholders worries over Muhongo’s commitments

SOME energy stakeholders in the country have expressed their worries over the pledge by the Minister for Energy and Minerals Professor Sospeter Muhongo which he made mid this week of bringing the most fundamental changes that would end up the existing electricity power woes in the country by end of 2015. Speaking in an exclusive interview mid this week, they said in strict condition of anonymity that poor supervision work coupled by increased corruption, the two attitudes have been tarnishing the good name of the ministry, thus has also diminished high work performance rate an aspect which makes electricity power connection to become inefficient in some parts in the country. The stakeholders gave their concern during a one day symposium which was organized by the ministry of Energy on Wednesday in Dar es Salaam this week and have asked the ministry officials to show seriousness and strong commitments in order to increase work performance in the execution of the intended ministry’s key development plans.  Otherwise, they have noted that, the ministry will be spending money which would end up into pockets of few untrustworthy staff and their agency workers that yields no good results for the development if the people in the country whatsoever. On Wednesday this week, Professor Muhongo made the pledge when talking to energy stakeholders from various energy power selling companies including ordinary people in the country at a one day public workshop which was organized by his ministry at Mlimani city hall in Dar es Salaam. However alongside with this occasion, he also used the opportunity to unveil his various ministry’s key projects that aimed to address new initiatives in order to achieve the so-called; “Big Results Now”. This strategy was launched in May this year by President Jakaya Kikwete basing on Malaysian government’s plans for accomplishing its 2025 development vision. The purpose of the symposium was to explain key priority projects to stakeholders which his ministry intends to execute during the 2013/14 financial year. He said the target was to increase the percentage rate of the number of electricity users from the current 21 percent to 30 percent countrywide by 2015. It’s from this point of view that stakeholders gets worried about as to how will he manage to accomplish the need to increase the percentage rate of users by 9 percent to meet the target within two years’ time from now? An anonymous electrical engineer queried.

But Professor Muhongo noted that, in order to achieve the country’s vision, the ministry will focus on the natural gas pipeline from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam which is set to be completed end of 2014 and the installation of gas plant at Kinyerezi on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam city to be completed in 2015. Other targeted projects he mentioned are coal and renewable energies such as wind, solar and geothermal as sources of energy to check the over dependency on hydropower generation. Other projects he has put under this strategy are restructuring of TANESCO and TPDC companies, construction of transmission lines in the central northern, southern and western corridors, all these projects he said will increase accessibility to electricity supply to rural areas in most parts in the country. He said his ministry will spend approximately Sh. 330 billion to increase 7 percent of the rural electrification projects alone and the beneficiaries will be 465 health centers, 4,236 secondary schools, 24 development community colleges, and 101 agricultural colleges. All of these sectors will be supplied with solar energy power. However, in his earlier introductory remarks, the minister noted that, his ministry will spend a total of Sh. 1.4 trillion for 2013/14 fiscal year, and added that, the budget has been doubled from the previous Sh. 632 billion citing the reason to increase the current 1,438.42 MW to 2,780 MW to 2015 when gas starts operation. Professor Muhongo is on the view of the fact that, the initiatives will bring about constant increase of the electricity users who would move alongside with the amount of electricity units consumed per person from the current 97 to 490 in order to meet the country’s development vision by 2025. He said that, the private sector has been given the opportunity to make investments in all these rural areas to explore the opportunity in order to accomplish the need by the government whose aim is to alleviate rural with poverty stricken situation.  The colorful occasion of its kind was attended by hundreds of people from all walks of life most of whom stakeholders of the energy sector who were also given time to air out their views, grievances and asked questions to get clarifications from the top most ministry officials seated on the high table. On his part, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Eliakim Maswi assured the attendants that, the companies and agencies under his ministry have signed a contract that they will deliver to expectations and that they will resign upon failure to execute their jobs at the required level. “Dubious contract is an enemy so let us not entertain this attitude” he said adding that, he has ever refused to take a bribe of $ 200,000 (Sh, 320 million) tipped to his for a certain contract. He assured attendants that, his ministry has suspended about 35 staff that were found to have involved in corruption malpractices.

No comments: