Why Tanzania sets Sh700bn for Stiegler’s Gorge project

Friday May 25 2018

Dr Medard Kalemani

Dr Medard Kalemani 

By Alawi Masare @AMasare malawi@tz.nationmedia.com

Dodoma. The Ministry of Energy’s 2018/19 budget has shot up by over 40 per cent to Sh1.69 trillion, courtesy of the giant Stiegler’s Gorge power project.

According to the ministry’s expenditure plan for the next financial year tabled in Parliament yesterday, Sh700 billion has been allocated to the project, which is meant to significantly boost electricity production and drive forward the government’s industrialisation agenda. This is almost 74 per cent of the entire ministerial budget of Sh945.89 billion endorsed for the current financial year.

Tabling the proposals, the minister in charge of the docket, Dr Medard Kalemani, said the ministry would spend Sh1.665 trillion, or 98.4 per cent of the entire budget, on development projects. Sh1.489 trillion of the development budget will be financed with domestic revenue, while Sh175.4 billion is expected to come from foreign sources.

The controversial Stiegler’s Gorge project, for which lawmakers have demanded an environmental impact assessment, is expected to generate 2,100 megawatts through a mega-dam to be built in the Rufiji River Basin.

Dr Kalemani said the government had already evaluated tenders for the proposed hydropower station, which is expected to help Tanzania attain its goal of transforming itself into a semi-industrialised middle-income economy by 2025.

“This project is a very important facilitator in the journey to becoming a middle-income economy,” he said.

“Construction of a 33-kilovolt power line from Dakawa to supply electricity for the project’s contractor began last November, and is expected to be complete in July, this year. In the next financial year, construction of workers’ camps, main dam, spillways and tunnels will begin,” Dr Kalemani said, adding that the project was expected to take off in earnest in July and be completed in 36 months.

Other projects on the cards include extension of the gas-fired Kinyerezi I power plant, which will add 185MW to the national grid; Kinyerezi II (240MW), Somanga Fungu (330MW), Mtwara (300MW) and Kakono (87MW).

Dr Kalemani said the government would also step up rural electrification projects, for which Sh412.08 billion has been set aside for the next financial year.

The government is now in the third phase of rural electrification projects implemented by the Rural Energy Agency. The scheme includes densification (for areas with electricity infrastructure), grid extension and off-grid renewable projects.

Dr Kalemani also said the government would finalise ratification of the International Solar Alliance, and embark on the implementation of solar power projects financed through the government of India.

The solar projects will be implemented in Shinyanga, Singida, Dodoma and Kilimanjaro regions.