Tanzania's Makamba equates Stiegler’s gorge with Kihansi, says it can be done

Wednesday May 23 2018

The Minister of State in the Vice President's

The Minister of State in the Vice President's office (Union Affair and Environment) Mr January Makamba Photo | File 

By The Citizen Reporter news@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. The Minister of State in the Vice President's office (Union Affair and Environment) Mr January Makamba has said that the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) will soon be visiting the site of the Stiegler's Gorge power generation project to verify the environmental impact assessment report that had been submitted. 

Speaking on the radio on Wednesday morning, Mr Makamba assured wananchi that the project was still being studies, hence people should calm down wait for the result. Makamba said the government would not engage into a project of that size without doing enough study to determine what metigation measures should be undertaken to minimize the risk

“Any construction work has some negative impacts on the environment. If you build a one story building, you are shielding your neighbors from enjoying the breeze. The important thing is to understand how much damage can be caused before you start the project, and also establish what you can do to minimize the negative implications,” he said. 

"Like any other project the law must be observed including conducting necessary study of the environment which is what is taking place right now", he added.

Mr Makamba explained that the project is under The Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO), who registered the project with NEMC and commissioned the Institute for Resource Assessment  (IRA) at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) so as to conduct scientific research.

The minister further explained that once the site verification is done, a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) will meet to discuss and verify the result of the study.

“Next week there will be a meeting with experts to discuss the result of the report by TAC,” he said. Makamba said this is not the first time for a big project such as this, and with such great implications on the environment to be done. 

“A few years ago, there was a huge discussion on wether or not we should embark on mining Uranium at Selous. Once the study was done, everything was clear,” he said, emphasizing the importance of doing the study of the project. 

Furthermore, the same was with Kihansi hydropower plant. “There were fears that the project would affect the natural habitat for Kihansi spray toad to live. These are endemic frogs that can be found at the Kihansi gorge. But a study was done, mitigation measures established, and the project was done,” he said. Right now Kihansi power plant project is one of the most successful project with 80 per cent capacity to generate power, Mr Makamba explained.

Concerning remarks made yesterday in Parliament by his deputy, Mr Kagi Lugola, Mr Makamba said he cannot make any comments since he does not know what the context. Mr Lugola had said that whoever would resist the Stiegler’s gorge power generation project would be jailed.