Tanzanian President John Magufuli has announced the sacking of the head of TANESCO over the increase of tariffs.
The announcement came in a brief statement from State House saying the increase of tariffs would hinder progress in the president’s plan to industrialize Tanzania.
“It is unacceptable that while we are making plans to build manufacturing industries and ensure more citizens have access to electricity… someone else uses his position to increase power tariffs,” the statement partly read.
Dr. Magufuli went on to appoint Dr. Tito Mwinuka of the University of Dar es Salaam to serve as managing director in an acting capacity.
Sacked TANESCO managing director Mr. Felchesmi Mramba held the position since 2012 and is the first high-profile sacking of 2017.
President Magufuli since coming into office has sacked dozens of public officials as part of his anti-corruption campaign.
TANESCO pushed for an increase of tariffs of 18.19 percent to stem losses and clear debts to independent power producers and fuel suppliers.
Tanzania’s energy regulator, however, only approved an 8.53 percent increase on Thursday which was less than half of what the utility company requested.
Barely a day after the approval, Energy and Minerals Minister Sospeter Muhongo revoked the 8.53 percent increase which would have come into effect on Jan 1.
TANESCO is warning that its “financial capacity will be paralyzed” if an increase is not implemented.
The company also revealed that it has been unsuccessful in seeking loans from the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
Tanzania relies heavily on hydropower dams for electricity which are prone to drought. With the new discovery of reserves of more than 57 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the country is hoping to tap into it to solve its power problems.