Arguing the greater good of the Stiegler’s Gorge hydro-electricity generation project, Tanzania’s President John Magufuli, this week addressed international organisations at the State House in Dar es Salaam.
The multi-million dollar project, which is expected to generate 2,100MW after the construction of a large dam along the Rufiji River in the Selous Game Reserve, has raised alarm over possible adverse environmental effects.
However, Magufuli insisted that the project would in fact improve the surrounding eco-system rather than hinder it.
“After all, only 3.5% of the total area in the reserve will be used for hydro-electric power generation. However, wildlife will get enough drinking water compared to the past,” he said.
He added: “Since the wildlife will be better maintained in the SGR than it used be, the implementation of the project will also reduce poaching.”
The President ‘hijacked’ the meeting intended for the handover of government-funded title deeds to 67 embassies and international organisations to push his view on the project, the Citizen reported.
According to the President, unlike Japan that produces electricity from uranium, Tanzania has not opted for using the mineral for power generation. In this regard, he noted that instead Tanzania has chosen hydro-electric power generation.
Earlier this month, a statement released by Major General Gaudence Milanzi said Tanzania maintains its position to continue with the project as stated during a meeting of the committee in Poland last year.
“Unesco has agreed to cooperate with Tanzania to ensure the project is environmentally safe,” said Milanzi, who is the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.
According to a report by the Citizen at the time, the government has allocated Sh700 billion ($308 million) in the 2018/19 budget to get the works started. Read more: Tanzania appeals to AfDB to finance Stiegler’s Gorge hydropower plant