RESIDENTS of Katavi Region have all the reasons to smile following commencement of the construction of Tabora- Katavi power transmission line project for the objective of connecting Katavi to the national power supply system.
The project, which is expected to cost 135bn/- upon completion, will supply 130 megawatts to region whose current consumption of power stands at between 5 and 6 megawatts.
The project is seen by Tanzanians as one of the success stories of President John Magufuli as it will help save billions of shillings that the fifth phase government has been spending to run power generators.
Speaking yesterday after laying the foundation stone for the construction of the power line at Kampuni Village in Mpanda District, Katavi region, President Magufuli said the government through Tanzania Electric Supply Company ( Tanesco) has been spending a whopping 6.5bn/- annually to operate the generators.
Dr Magufuli mentioned that the project, upon completion, will solve frequent power outages as the generated power will surpass their actual consumption of between 5.5 and 6.5 megawatt.
"Once Katavi is connected to the national grid the region can contribute considerably to the national economy as regional residents can start up industries whenever they wish to and the operation costs will also go down," he said.
The President said currently Tanesco collects 1bn/- only annually while it spends 6.5bn/- in operation cost, indicating that the power utility firm has been incurring huge loss.
The head of State assured Katavi residents and Tanzanians in general that Nyerere Hydropower project, which is currently under implementation will change Tanzania'ssupply as it will produce 2,115 megawatts to the national grid.
President Magufuli explained that in the past power outages were normal in the country but in recent years the problem been contained after it came to the attention of authorities that some officials were sabotaging power production at Mtera Hydro Power dam by tampering with the water supply system at the reservoir.
He mentioned that previously the government was subsidising Tanesco by giving it 200bn/- annually to meet its operation costs but currently the government no longer dishes out money and the power utility firm manages everything on its own.
Dr Magufuli also laid the foundation stone for the construction of 35.6-kilometre stretch from Mpanda - Vikonge road in Katavi region.
He clarified that as a feasibility study and detailed design for the remaining 169-kilometre road was complete, responsible authorities should advertise another tender for the remaining 50 kilometres to link the areas with Uvinza town in Kigoma.
Earlier on, Energy Minister Dr Medard Kalemani said Tanzania was also implementing two major power projects connecting Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya.
Speaking on rural electrification project, Dr Kalemani said 60 per cent of the villages across the country have been connected to reliable and affordable electricity through the Rural Energy Agency (REA) with a target of connecting all households in the country by 2025.
"This project commenced in May 2019 and is expected to be completed by May 2020 in which a substation has been constructed and later two machines will be installed with the capacity of 50 megawatts each," he noted.
Dr Kalemani alleged that the next task was to construct power transmission line of 130 kilovolts from Kiloleni area, through Inyonga and Ipole.
He said the second phase of the project will be the construction of transmission line of 400 kilovolts from Iringa, through Mbeya, Sumbawanga, Tunduma, Katavi, Kigoma to Nyakanazi covering the distance of 1,732 kilometres.