Mtwara — MTWARA :PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa has directed Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) to stop entertaining underperforming contractors on rural power connections and instead fire them to create vacancies for others.
The Premier issued the directives here yesterday when addressing a rally at Newala Urban in Mtwara Region, noting that the country has many competent constructors to run the rural electrification projects smoothly.
Mr Majaliwa was irked by careless constructors on the rural energy projects after the state-owned power utility firm Acting Newala District Manager, Engineer Hassan Kipende informed him over slow pace of the contractor in implementing the project in the area.
Notifying the Premier, Eng Kipende said the contract was assigned by Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to connect electricity to 25 villages in Newala District, but since then he has failed to accomplish the work according to the agreement.
“The contractor was summoned and questioned by the Regional Manager over slow pace of the implementation of the project and later given more time to work on the project, but still failed to accomplish the work,” he said.
He said on August 9th this year, the contractor was summoned again and questioned by the REA Director General alongside the Board Chairperson over the slow pace of the scheme and he was given one month to complete the work.
“He was questioned and instructed to connect the 25 villages and finish the work by the end of this August,” he said.
Elaborating, TANESCO Regional Manager in Mtwara Engineer Tawakali Rwahila said the contractor again failed to work on project (Rural Electrification project) due to insufficient supply of equipment and funds.
However, the premier termed the claims as baseless and tasked Mtwara Regional Commissioner Colonel Ahmed Abbas to follow up on the matter and closely monitor its progress.
Mr Majaliwa told the RC to follow-up and ensure the work of connecting power to the 25 villages is implemented as planned, failure to that he should be informed to take stern measures.
Speaking during the rally, Newala Member of Parliament Captain (rtd) George Mkuchika expressed dissatisfaction over the slow pace of connecting power in Newala.
He complained over the contractor’s snail’s pace towards connecting the villages with power, saying the majority of the villages in Newala Urban Constituency lack power.
“Many villages in other constituency have been connected to power in Newala not even half of the villages have got power,” he said.
Meanwhile Majaliwa has urged cashewnut farmers to conduct commercial agriculture by adding value to the crop.
“It is time to change, we should use this opportunity to establish factories for processing cashewnuts and empower farmers to add value and sell their produce within and outside the country,” he said.
Mr Majaliwa made the remarks yesterday, while addressing Newala District’s residents as part of his working visit in Mtwara Region.
“The price cap for peeled cashewnut stands at 13,000/- per kilogramme in comparison to raw cashewnut which is 2000/-, it is time for change and let us harness the available opportunity to establish cashew processing industry to tap both the local and the international markets” Mr Majaliwa said.
He said the price for one kilogramme of processed cashews goes at 13,000/- while unprocessed one is 2000/-, adding: “When you process four kilograms of cashewnuts you get one kilogramme of processed cashews.”
He said the act of exporting unprocessed cashewnuts denies farmers some incomes, which they could earn from the outer shell.
The PM called upon owners of cashewnut processing factories to provide opportunity for farmers to process their cashews and charge them for the service.