Plans are at an advanced stage for the country to generate an dditional 1,000 megawatts from coal. The National Development Corporation (NDC) says that the mega project to be ready in the next three years will enable the country starve off any future power shortage.
The NDC Corporate Affairs Manager, Mr Abel Ngapemba, was quoted as saying that the project is developed jointly between the government and a Chinese firm, Sichuan Hongda Group, at a cost of 1.3 billion US dollars (about 2.08trn/-).This is good news taking into account the fact that reliable supply of electricity is key to the country's economic growth especially the manufacturing sector which has of late become a big contributor on foreign exchange earnings.
This will top up on the 800 megawatts TANESCO is currently producing. But these figures have remained mainly symbolic for many years as TANESCO has practically managed to generate only 600 megawatts. The role of the energy sector on the economy cannot be over-emphasized.
With the ongoing Euro zone crisis and a drop in the manufacturing sector in many European countries, developing nations, including Tanzania, cannot afford to relax and expect a continued smooth flow of foreign aid. They must find ways to fix their troubled economies to be able to keep up the pace for socio-economic growth.
These efforts must go in tandem with the improvement of the infrastructure such as power generation, roads and railway networks. So, the latest news on power generation will definitely entice investors particularly in the manufacturing sector who have always complained about the erratic supply of electricity.
These efforts will also spur economic growth through job creation, improvement of exports of manufactured goods as well as promotion of information communication technology (ICT) in rural areas. NDC has shown the way. Let the private sector come up with more plans to generate more power. It can be done if all stakeholders play an active role to ensure that there is sustainable economic growth.