INDUSTRIALISTS have welcomed the pledge given yesterday by CCM presidential candidate Dr John Magufuli that his government would ensure the country's power generation capacity reaches 5000 MW in the next three years.
Dr Magufuli, who seeks his second presidential term, stated yesterday that with the ongoing power projects set to beef up the national grid considerably, Tanzania will have adequate power to feed its envisaged industrialized economy, sell the surplus and get rid of power outages.
Responding, the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) banked on the pledge, saying that would be a very important step towards attaining the country's industrialization dream because industries rely mostly on electricity.
CTI's Director of Policy and Advocacy, Mr Akida Mnyenyelwa, argued that having enough and reliable power would really boost local industries production and increase their competitiveness in the market in the wake of reduced production costs.
"As Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is about to become operational, raising the competitiveness of our industries is paramount, we welcome Dr Magufuli's pledge," Mr Mnyenyelwa said.
AfCFTA's main objectives are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Customs Union.
"Not only for AfCFTA, improved power supply would reduce costs of production, it will empower local industries to compete in other regional markets such as EAC and SADC," he stated.
Addressing a campaign rally yesterday, President Magufuli oozed confidence that the ongoing electricity projects, once completed, would massively increase national power production capacity.
Dr Magufuli insisted that his government will continue powering the nation, assuring Tanzanians that all regions will be connected to the national grid for reliable power supply.
According to the CCM 2020/2015 manifesto, the government will continue with the implementation of various development projects in the sector.
It states that in the past five years over 9000 villages had been connected to power out of over 12000 villages.
Dr Magufuli told Bukoba residents that in the past five years, his government connected 541 villages with electricity out of 664 found in the region.
"When the fifth government came to power, only 168 villages were connected to power in this region, today, only 123 villages are left, and I can assure you, if re-elected in October, the remaining villages will be connected immediately," he noted.
"Let me tell you, people of Kagera, I want to assure you that this problem of power shortage will not continue in the next five years because we have several projects ongoing which, once completed, will all be connected to the national grid," he explained.
He stated that the plan was that after having adequate power the country's industries currently totalling over 8070, which have created jobs to over 500,000 people, will get more power supply, and would encourage the revival of collapsed industries in collaboration with the private sector.
His current government was insisting that come June, next year no village will be in darkness as it focuses on accomplishing rural electrification during this financial year.
Commenting, Dr Hildebrand Shayo, economy and investment analyst said if the country would have enough and reliable power it would facilitate industries for smelting the country's iron ore reserves in Liganga, and thus reduce imports of iron.
Dr Shayo also said adequate power supply would result into the growth of fertilizer industries; and that would eventually boost agricultural production .
Thanks to improved efforts in rural electrification, Tanzania has leapfrogging Nigeria into top slot in the continent's power supply race, Energy Minister, Dr Medard Kalemani stated recently.
According to Dr Kalemani, initially, Nigeria was the leading country by 72 per cent, but the East African nation is now leading in Africa after reaching over 74 per cent.