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The Power crisis in Tanzania has been the subject of much discussion in the public sphere particularly online and there is no reason to rehash the same or similar arguments. However what has caught my attention in the Opposition budget read yesterday 15th June 2011 by Shadow Minister Zitto Kabwe (MP) was the mention of making power shortage a national emergency. This is truly a relief to hear that finally politicians are not falling victim to populism and declaring that “only 10% of Tanzanians have electricity or connected to the National Grid, so this is not a national crisis”
My view is that it is a national emergency because Tanzania as a young country should be looking toward industrialization and catching up with the 21st century and we should not proudly declare that because we are behind, we don’t intend to catch up at all, IMHO!
First step is to ensure that those already connected to the National Grid and started businesses, factories and enterprises that are depended on electricity, get reliable power. The current ‘small rationing’ is actually a full fledged rationing which makes modern life unbearable and businesses unsustainable. Real economic growth can only happen if Tanzania starts exporting manufactured goods, provide world class services etc.
After ensuring a sustainable supply of power the next step will be to connect the rest of the country to the National Grid. The supply of electricity changes lives in unimaginable way and spurs development – that is not something that anyone of us would argue against.
I believe that even though this was an alternative budget and not the government’s budget but there is no harm in the government lending some of the ideas and implementing them. We need to look at this as an emergency that needs long term solutions and strategy as well as short term solutions.