Sunday, December 21, 2008



By Isaac Chanzi

THE Government has directed the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) to cancel its plans to buy the controversial Dowans power generation plant in national interest.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the Minister of Energy and Minerals, William Ngeleja, said that the issue of whether or not to buy Dowans generating sets was just a proposal from the national utility firm.

He said his ministry had to also consult the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs over the matter.

“The Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs gave us an okay to purchase Dowans power generation plant by looking at the existing Public Procurement Regulations Act,” Ngeleja said.

Earlier this week, the Parliamentary Committee for Energy and Minerals said it would not approve Government’s decision to buy the plant as doing so was against the laws of the land.

He said the Government allowed TANESCO to participate in the whole process to acquire Dowans power generation plant because it was in working condition and could restore the opportunity for electrical power deficit.

Ngeleja said according to the Power System Master Plan, the demand for electricity is growing at an average of 10-15 per cent every year.

He said it is expected that between 2008 and 2012, power demand would shoot up at an average of 10 to 15 percent.

He said that due to such facts, there would be a deficit of power generation in this period going by the economic development speed and current power generation. The demand for electricity is rising by 70MW per year.

He said another reason why Tanesco wanted to purchase Dowans’ was its capacity of generating 112.5MW –an equivalent to the power generated at Mtera Dam (80MW), Hale (21MW) and Nyumba ya Mungu (8MW) combined.

In a swift rejoinder, the House Energy Committee Chairman, William Shellukindo, revealed that the minister had called an emergency meeting on Sunday and gave the shocking news to the committee.

“I am surprised to hear that the Government wants to get involved with people who once conned it. The Government terminated its contract with Dowans, we call upon the Government to find an alternative solution to the problem instead of opting for fire brigade decisions,” said Shellukindo.

He said the Government had the whole year to find an alternative, saying experience had proved that such fire brigade decisions had caused the nation to suffer major losses.

Shellukindo said the House had already deliberated on the matter; and what was left was for the Government to implement the recommendations as per Dr Mwakyembe Parliamentary Select Committee. One of the team’s suggestions was to terminate the contract.

"For us going back to discuss an issue that the House had already decided upon, amounts to a breach of Parliamentary regulations. Should the Government decide to buy the machines, let it not involve us as part of the deal,`` he said.

He said the Mwakyembe Report had suggested that legal action be taken against those implicated in the scam, adding that the culprits were yet to be taken to court.

The Mp said the Dowans machines were not new, and wondered why the Government had decided to purchase them and at a high price of 59,157,000 USD –an equivalent of more than 70bn/-.