18 January 2014

Tanzania: Zanzibar Utility Firm Queries TANESCO's Over Sh70 Billion Debt

Zanzibar — AS the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) threatens to disconnect electricity supply to Zanzibar, the Isles' Electricity Company (ZECO) has categorically dismissed as false the statement issued recently that Zanzibar owes TANESCO 70bn/-.

The Zanzibar Electricity Company (ZECO) General Manager Mr Hassan Ali Mbarouk said his office had received a letter from TANESCO demanding the settlement of 70bn/= debt, threatening to cutoff power to Zanzibar.

"I do not know why TANESCO uses the press to give false information with regard to the power debt in Zanzibar. We owe them about 44bn/- and we recently agreed to pay the debt on monthly installments," ZECO manager said.

"ZECO and TANESCO Boards of Directors have met to discuss this debt, agreeing to settle it gradually on monthly basis. But Zanzibar government has asked the union government to pay 18bn/- accumulated from Pay As You Earn (PAYE) in 2011."

The manager said that the union government has been asked to settle the PAYE debt by paying directly to TANESCO to reduce Zanzibar's electricity debt of 44bn/-, not 70bn/-."

He said that Zanzibar government has agreed with the union government on how to share the PAYE from the union government civil servants working in Zanzibar. TANESCO supplies 60 megawatts in Zanzibar generated from the national grid.

On average, Zanzibar is supposed to pay 3.4bn/- on monthly basis. Thousands of people and institutions, mainly government organizations owe TANESCO over USD 190 Million, saying its financial position is not good because of the debts. Other Tanesco's large debtors are companies, factories and institutions.

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