23 November 2012

Tanzania: Mara Residents Warned Over Delayed Power Project

ENERGY and Minerals Minister Professor Sospeter Muhongo has warned residents of Mara Region to refrain from frustrating the on-going efforts to connect the region to the national grid.

He cited tendency in which some people delay execution of rural electricity supply projects demanding compensation in the lake zone region.

"If your area has been evaluated do not delay power projects, you will be compensated as the work continues ," the Minister said when speaking to various stakeholders including religious leaders and local leaders in his first working tour of Tarime district on Tuesday.

Prof Muhongo warned that his ministry will not hesitate to withdraw projects that will be delayed by compensation in the area. "Never delay power projects because of compensation. If we find you doing so we will shift the projects to free conflict areas with immediate effect and leave you with your conflicts," he cautioned.

He said the government has allocated funds to connect several villages of the Northern Tarime District with the national power grid during this financial year(2012/2013). The villages included Nyarwana, Manga, Suruhu, Biswaru, Mtana Kembu , Keisangua and some villages located near the North Mara Gold Mine which are located in Nyamongo area several kilometres away from Tarime town.

He expressed concern of the little number of people with access to electricity in the entire lake zone region. "Mara Region has a population of about 1. 9 million at this time but out of this only 18,000 people are using electricity. In such a situation poverty must prevail.

We have intended to increase the electricity and gas users", Prof Muhongo noted. He said the ministry has lowered connection fees in a bid to encourage many people connected with electricity. Prof Muhongo was appointed to lead one of the country's sensitive ministries in a cabinet reshuffle made by President Jakaya Kikwete a few months ago.

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