THE government is revisiting guidelines for setting up mini-fuel stations in rural areas and small towns to increase the number of refilling stations.
Minister for Energy, Dr Medard Kalemani, told the Parliamentary Committee on Energy and Minerals that the government intended to improve the availability of fuel and enhance the safety of motorists and members of the public as well as their properties.
"The ministry is committed to ensuring the availability and supply of fuel in rural areas, but with safety precautions to motorist and residents," he told the committee, which met with the ministry and institutions it supervises.
Dr Kalemani said roughly investment cost for a standard petrol filling station was about 500m/-.
The minister said the amount of money was the first hindrance to investors, who expected to struggle to remain open due to the small number of motorists in such areas.
He, however, admitted that rural areas and several other small towns were increasingly facing a shortage of petroleum products due to an inadequate number of service providers.
He said the ministry was also considering setting up public petrol stations at affordable costs, featuring at least one pumping machine.
Speaking on rural electrification, Dr Kalemani said the government had made notable strides to electrify rural areas.
"Over 80 per cent of villages are connected to electricity and only 2,200 villages are remaining. The ministry believe they will be electrified in the next 18 months," he said.
The minister said Tanesco had already fixed mega transmission lines for power supply to Dodoma, Dar es Salaam and Mwanza.
In Dodoma, for instance, Tanesco has completed it's 400-megawatt project, but the region demands only 45 megawatts.
"Tanesco is also fixing automatic voltage regulators in Masasi and Tunduru to address power interruptions in Ruvuma," he said.
The minister explained this as he was responding to Ms Stella Manyanya (Nyasa-CCM), who had expressed concern over continuous power interruptions in the region.
Committee Vice-Chairman Seif Gulamali hailed the ministry for its commitment to improving access to electricity and fuel in the country. He said the committee was impressed with the speed in which 80 per cent of the villages across the country had been electrified.