Rufiji. The role being played by local engineers, technicians, bankers and other professionals in implementation of the, 2115 Julius Nyerere Hydro Power Project along Rufiji River has proved that Tanzanians have excelled in various fields, it was revealed here yesterday.
The Sh6.1-trillion mega project which is the fourth largest in Africa has seen banking experts from CRDB Bank Plc teaming up with engineers from Tanesco and Tanroads to provide financing, supervision and consultancy where formerly only foreign consortia would have prevailed.
“As a local bank owned largely by Tanzanians and Treasury, we feel honoured to be associated with this strategic mega project,” said CRDB’s managing director AbdulmajidNsekela.
Mr Nsekela, who accompanied the bank’s board of director members led by chairman Ally Laay, said CRDB was happy with the government and Tanesco’s confidence in the bank which had enabled the lender to provide a guarantee of over Sh1 trillion to a joint venture of Arab Contractors and Elsewedy Electric of Egypt.
“I must say that as a bank this is the first time we’re involved in financing as we partnered with United Bank for Africa with CRDB as lead arranger,” Mr Nsekela said saying the Moody’s rated B1 positive outlook rated bank has the muscles to provide financing for any strategic state mega projects.
“We are happy that this project is making good progress and according to engineers it is on schedule which means Tanzanians should expect reliable supply of electricity by June next year,” he added stressing that the bank was also supporting strategic state projects including standard gauge railway and rural electrification.
Project’s resident engineer John Mageni and Tanesco acting managing director Pakaye Daniel paid tribute to CRDB for supporting the project saying the financing has meant that all construction and supply works were on schedule.
Mr Mageni, who is Tanzania Engineering Consulting Unit (Tecu) head of consulting engineers supervising the project, said because of stable financing, come next June the nine turbines at the JNHPP will roar into life adding a staggering 2115MW into the national grid which Dr Laay wondered if the local market would be in the position to absorb all of it.
He said the joint venture of Arab Contractors and Elsewedy Electric is working hard to beat the June 2022 deadline saying there were no logistical nor financial challenges that could delay the completion.
Earlier, CRDB Board Chair Dr Laay said after 2115MW is added to the national grid next June, the country will have over 3,600MW of capacity which the local market cannot absorb.
“I wonder if there are plans to export to neighbouring countries because the electricity will be a lot for local consumption,” Dr Laay cautioned which prompted Tanesco acting MD, Pakaye alley the fears saying Mchuchuma and Liganga which needs over 400MW and the SGR project when completed will consume more.
“But we also expect to export to Mozambique and Zambia which have shown interest and certainly more local demand will grow due to industrialization,” he argued adding that the government is planning more hydro power projects in future.