Morogoro. High cost of renewable energy appliances and technologies and of alternative sources of energy due to import tax have been cited as some of the challenges standing in the way of expanding their use in Tanzania.
Mazingira Network Tanzania’s (Manet) executive secretary Frank Luvanda revealed this in an interview after attending a high level meeting between CSO coalitions dealing with environmental and oil and gas issues and parliamentarians through their organisation, the Tanzania Parliamentarian Friends of Environment (Tapafe).
Luvanda said the government should consider tax exemption in investment and application of renewable energy technologies to expand its use to save forests from destruction.
Manet is one of the CSOs represented in the high level meeting. Others are the Sustainable Energy Forum (Sef Tanzania), the Northern Coalition for Extractives & Environment (NCEE) and the Mtwara Region NGO Network (Mrengo).
Mr Luvanda said Tanzania is among five countries globally with high rate of deforestation losing about 400,000ha per year (FAO, Forest Global Assessment Report, 2010)
“There is an increase of global warming as a result of climate change causing impacts including drought, epidemic diseases, floods, food insecurity,” he said.
“That’s why the CSOs saw it fit, with facilitation from the World Wildlife Fund Tanzania Country Office (WWF-TCO), to initiate an engagement with parliamentarians,” Mr Luvanda said.
He added that engagement of parliamentarians was crucial to achieve such measures as reduction or removal of such taxes and creating incentives to use renewable energy sources.
He mentioned other challenges as hindering wide use of renewable energy sources as including poor implementation of laws and regulations on environmental conservation management and land disputes between farmers and herders in Tanzania, human – wildlife conflicts around protected areas as well as unsustainable use of biomass.
Others are lack of priorities in central and local government authorities plans regarding renewable energy.
The players asked the the government to encourage use of improved cooking stoves and renewable energy technologies in government and private institutions to reduce rate of deforestation.
They further called on the government to ensure enactment of regulations for management and implementation of environmental and natural resources policies and acts which are not in place yet such as regulations for renewable energy and biomass eg completion of Biomass Energy Strategy of Tanzania and the supporting regulations in implementation of acts
The CSOs further urged local government authorities to include renewable energy development in their budget as well as establishing Renewable Energy desks in the councils.