PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete's visit to Brazil continues to bear fruit after the completion of a preliminary study on Mnyera hydro-electric power project.
At the official visit to Brazil in April, this year, President Kikwete, among other things, told Queiroz Galvao Construction to speed up the study on the Mnyera project. The Brazilian company has heeded the government's wish and at last has presented a report to the management of Rufiji Basin Development Authority (Rubada) in Dar es Salaam.
Mnyera falls are located between three regions of Iringa, Njombe and Morogoro and the Brazilian experts say that it is capable of producing 700 MW at the minimum. Talking during the event, the Rubada Board Chairman, Prof Raphael Mwalyosi said that the management was happy to receive the preliminary report. The stage, he said, marks a step forward towards implementation.
"We are proud," Prof Mwalyosi said, adding that the development was both good for the Authority and the nation's development.
The chairman noted that Mnyera project, which is part of RUBADA's power master plan, comes at the right time when the country needs energy sources for economic and social development most critically.
"This is important especially now when the country is touting the 'Kilimo Kwanza' initiative," he said. He added that the project will make it possible for the government and private sector to implement mechanized agriculture and modern irrigation due to availability of energy.
According to the Chairman, Mnyera is strategically located in the same area where the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) is located. SAGCOT is one of the government's initiatives and an integral part of the 'Kilimo Kwanza' Vision which seeks to attain green revolution in Tanzania.
According to experts, if implemented properly, SAGCOT could feed the East African region and become a major agricultural exporter. On his part, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), International Market at Queiroz Galvao Construction, Mr Jose Filho, said that they are looking forward to making the project a reality.
"We hope to see this project in real implementation," he said. He thanked the government of Tanzania for the confidence shown in the company and promised to pay back by highest standards of profession and quality of job once the project takes off.
A RUBADA Board member, Dr Aldo Lupala, said that Tanzania is endowed with natural resources and that it is time now to harness them for the benefit of the country. "Mnyera is one of our treasures, we should make sure that it is developed for the benefit of our country today and future generation," Dr Lupala said, adding that the 700MW can make a big difference to the country's economy.
The Rubada Director General, Mr Aloyce Masanja, said that the next stage after the completion of the preliminary report is to form a technical committee comprising members from his authority and other government agencies. The committee will then meet with their Brazilian counterparts for final consensus after which the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and actual implementation will follow. Preliminary estimates show that the project will cost USD one billion.
The Brazilian Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Fransisco Luz said energy is a basis of stronger economy and commended Tanzania for her bold steps to develop various sources of energy. He noted that 85 per cent of Brazil's energy comes from hydro power sources and that it has significantly contributed to the strong and viable economy his country enjoys today.
It is envisioned that the Mnyera hydro power project will start producing electricity by 2015. The whole of the Rufiji Basin has the potential to produce 4,000MW. In Africa, Queiroz Galvao Construction has offices in Mozambique, Angola, Ghana and Gabon.