The country’s High Commissioner to Tanzania, Debnath Shaw, made remarks to that effect during talks with IPP Executive Chairman Dr Reginald Mengi in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
The remarks came after Dr Mengi recommended that the envoy take the power shortage Tanzania is experiencing as an investment opportunity.
Shaw explained that it was one of his official responsibilities to strengthen economic and other relations between the two countries and, accordingly, he has been working hard to make members of India’s business community appreciate the importance of investing in Tanzania.
“I fully agree with you and, in fact, that is one of the tasks I am expected to undertake in Tanzania … At this time there is Kumar Group, which intends to build a 250- megawatt plant in the Bagamoyo Special Economic Zone,
” he said.
The envoy also revealed that a second Indian company has shown interest in invest in Tanzania’s energy sector, adding: “However, they need assurance of the availability of enough supply of gas that will used to generate power for injection into the national grid to mitigate the shortage of electricity.”
The Indian diplomat’s remarks come just a day after the state-run power monopoly, Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco), declared that the country will continue to experience intermittent power cuts for the next 18 months mainly on account of its running costs outstripping its revenue by far.
Tanesco acting managing director Felchesmi Mramba said the frequent power cuts were mainly due to high power generating costs in meeting the electricity the nation needs.
He said only 130 megawatts are currently generated from Kidatu, Pangani and Kihansi hydroelectricity sources but prolonged drought could make the situation worse.
The high commissioner expressed his country’s readiness to cooperate with Tanzania in the mutually beneficial transfer of technology, “the aim being to help Tanzania develop affordable technology that is friendly to its own environment”.
He elaborated: “We (India) have made remarkable progress in this, so we can help you … You have been taking patents to India, and I am told you don’t have supporting staff.
One of the India health service providers has told me that they intend to
train their Tanzanian counterparts so as to make sure the surgeries are being done right here.”
The envoy said India was also ready to cooperate with Tanzania in addressing the problem counterfeit products, “especially in the health sector, as we have the capacity and the technology one would need to trace the origin of such products”.
“When we heard that there were fake ARVs (anti-retroviral drugs) in Tanzania, we asked the government if those drugs were from India so that we could trace their origin.
But it so happened that they were not made in India,” he noted, adding: “We have the necessary expertise in this and we hope we can help to protect your consumers just as we have managed to do to some extent back home.”
High Commissioner Shaw meanwhile also challenged the government to establish policies that would help Tanzania’s cashewnut sub-sector flourish.
He said he found it surprising and unacceptable for Tanzania to sell raw cashewnuts only to see them transported to other countries for processing and value-addition.
Dr Mengi had requested the envoy for advice on the paradox of Tanzania producing fine cashewnuts which are thereafter processed in India, with Tanzanian cashewnut farmers not benefiting much from their sweat.
“We grow cashewnuts yet it is processed in India. We would like to add value to the crop right here in Tanzania,” he said, adding: “Let them (Indian nationals) come over and form joint ventures with Tanzanian businesses and establish processing plants here. That is what will help to fight poverty in cashewnut-growing areas.”
Dr Mengi also appealed to members of India’s business community to take advantage of the market opportunities Tanzania enjoys under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), which offers tangible incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to develop stronger economies and put in place more free markets.
“We don’t have enough to meet the (Agoa) market demand so, with your help, we can produce more especially in the textile industry. Let us join hands and feed the market,” he said.
Relations between India and Tanzania have been close and cordial for decades, characterised by active bilateral cooperation and mutual understanding.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN