5 December 2017

Tanzania: Tanesco Should Address Power Outages Soonest

Tanzania has been experiencing intermittent power supply for close to a month now. This is ostensibly due to problems that the relevant authorities say have something to do with ongoing repairs at the Kinyerezi power plant in Dar es Salaam.

A few weeks ago, Energy minister Medard Kalemani directed the state power monopoly Tanesco to ensure that the problem was resolved by the beginning of this December.

Dr Kalemani went on to assure Tanzanians that the power outage was transient.

Whether the power blackouts would end soon or not remains to be seen. But, apparently, the authorities are no longer forthcoming on the matter, thus keeping Tanzanians in the dark as to when exactly the problem would end.

But what is more irksome - and has already led to losses of billions of shillings to businesses - is the erratic nature of the power cuts. Clearly, they are not organised.

The supply can be cut and restored consecutively more than seven times in a matter of hours. A single power cut can last anything from 15 minutes to five hours. There is no way one can predict that.

But all this causes damage to industrial machinery and home appliances alike. Businesses fail to execute production schedules because they do not know when power will be cut or restored in any given day.

It is unfortunate but true to say that erratic power supply has been Tanesco's specialty for far too long.

We urge the power utility to immediately issue a load shedding schedule that would help businesses to plan their production shifts and avoid further losses to their installations.

Such schedules should be a permanent feature to help bring order and sanity in Tanzania's budding industrialisation in particular, and the economy in general.

Let audit end Nicol saga

Last weekend's annual general meeting of National Investments Company Limited (Nicol) was a great opportunity for shareholders to put the past behind them and start on a new slate.

Nicol has for a long time been bedevilled with endless management disputes and misunderstandings that cost shareholders millions, if not billions, of shillings in wasted time, energy and financial resources.

The struggle for the control of the company was also played out in court with a staggering 42 cases being filed in seven years. In July 2011 the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange announced that it had de-listed Nicol due to, among other things, failure to submit audited financial results and for selling 22 million of its shares in NMB without notifying DSE. Nicol, which owned 6.6 per cent of NMB, had listed its 1.6 billion shares on the bourse in 2008.

But there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel for the investment firm following a longstanding wrangle on who is to blame for the management crisis that has cost the company so much.

We urge shareholders to give the new interim management time and space to work things out through the forensic audit that has reportedly been launched or is about to be launched.

Results of the audit should pave the way for appropriate action to be taken against all those responsible for the financial mismanagement of the company.


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