THE government yesterday affirmed that construction of the mega Stiegler's Gorge power project will start before July this year.
The news from the responsible minister, Dr Medard Kalemani, comes after the State opened the bids for the 2100MW hydropower project in August last year and its construction will last for 36 months.
The project is expected to end electricity woes in the country and drive the industrialisation process. It will see the construction of the largest dam along the Rufiji River in the Selous Game Reserve.
He noted this during an event to launch the Kinyerezi II gas power generating plant in Dar es Salaam. President John Magufuli graced the launching. The construction work of the project, worth 344 million US dollars (758bn/), started in 2016 by the SUMITOMO contractor.
The 85 per cent of the funds (292.4 million US dollar) was secured under a soft loan agreement with the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and the government has financed the remaining 15 per cent of the total cost.
Dr Kalemani explained that the Kinyerezi II project was completed 45 days prior to the deadline, attributing success to the push from the President himself who directed the Ministry and Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) to ensure the project is finished early. Furthermore, the readiness of the government to disburse funds timely, largely contributed to speed construction as it paid all 51.6 million US dollars in a lump sum.
"This had given us more impetus to finish the project before the set deadline," Dr Kalemani stated. The Kinyerezi II followed the completion of Kinyerezi I in March 2015, noting that they are now working on finishing Kinyerezi I extension project to produce 185 MW. The government has committed 188 million US dollars to implement the Kinyerezi I extension project which is expected to be completed next January.
"We are organising ourselves to ensure that this project is also finished in time," he pledged, noting that there were many other power projects undertaken because of President Magufuli's efforts. In the next three or four years, Kinyerezi area alone in the city will be generating about 1,690MW from the natural gas.
Hydropower projects, citing Stigler's Gorge whose process to start construction was in progress, and it is anticipated to begin before July this year, it will add more power thus drive industrialisation. TANESCO's Managing Director, Dr Tito Mwinuka added that they look forward to embarking on implementing Kinyerezi III and IV which will be generating 600 MW and 450 MW respectively.
Dr Mwinuka explained that talks are ongoing with investors so that the implementation of the two projects could start in the 2019/20 financial year. Deputy Ambassador of Japan to Tanzania, Mr Hiroyuki Kubota, remarked that the quality and safety standards have been met during the construction of the Kinyerezi II.
"I am very grateful to all stakeholders involved in the project which is a symbol of Public Private Partnership (PPP) between Japan and government of Tanzania," he said. He assured that Japan was supporting the industrial agenda of the Fifth Phase Government, and the Kinyerezi II power project proves their support.