Dar es Salaam. Energy minister January Makamba yesterday highlighted ten focus areas including making reforms and reviving negotiations with investors in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) project as part of the efforts to grow the energy sector.
Mr Makamba, appointed to the portifolio last month, hinted on the major reforms in all public institutions which fall under his docket.
“We just started with Tanesco but we will also reform other institutions including Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC),” said Mr Makamba who was speaking during a symposium to discuss the sector’s growth, future and challenges.
The event was organized by Mwananchi Communications Ltd (MCL) – the publisher of Mwananchi, The Citizen and Mwanaspoti newspapers – to mark 60 years of independence in the sector.
Tanzania will celerate 60 years of Tanganyika independence on December 9, 2021 and is organizing series of events like this to mark the anniversary.
Last month, Mr Makamba announced leadership reforms in the power utility to address management challenges which he said formed part of the core issues that derailed progress.
Some members from the private sector were appointed to the management and board of the Tanesco.
He said they will hire anyone from any sector as long as they have the capacity, with the aim of ensuring that institutions had the right people who will help the government to attain its goals.
“For instance, at Tanesco there are 13,000 workers countrywide but only 300 are services staff and bear in mind that it is a business-oriented company. So, we will make reforms to ensure the public receives services at the right time,” he said.
In addition to that “When we appointed the new director of Tanesco there was debate on the social media but it was healthy. Unfortunately, people believe those in the private sector should not work for the government…. as long a person will nring the changes we want, we will hire them.”
Mr Makamba yesterday said another area was gas economy which he plans to revive the stalled negotiations for LNG.
He said the discussions will be held on November 8 this year as he has already written to Shell and Equior, adding things will be good soon.
He said the government will focus on improving cooking energy as 70 percent of people use forest products and other biomass which are not sustainable for development.
Mr Makamba also named petroleum exploration and rural electrification as other areas which need to be developed properly and make meaningful use other than just lighting.
He also said the government would look at affordable and reliable energy from the private sector through independent power producers and focus on the renewables and go big now that tech allows stability of production.
He also said they seek to improve the sector governance by doing away with corruption and other challenges in the energy sector.
“There needs to be proper decision making. Tanzania is blessed with multiple energy resources (wind, solar etc). Tanzania can become an energy powerhouse,” Mr Makamba said.
Speaking at the event, the executive director of HakiRasilimali, Ms Rachel Chagonja, said there was a need to redefine the economic empowerment policy to bring about a common understanding and enable public to participate fully.
She said the state of economic empowerment was still a challenge in the country due to various reasons including the confusion of various laws and the lack of studies to identify Tanzania’s potential in production.
“My suggestion is that there is a need to interpret local content to bring awareness and enable more citizens to participate,” she said.