Promises 300 MW by year-end To construct bigger gas pipeline The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has decided to invest in power generation, promising to add 300 Megawatts to the national grid before December this year. NSSF has also shown interest in acquiring the Kiwira Coal Mine in Mbeya and constructing a large gas pipe from Songosongo and Mnazi Bay to Mkuranga, Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mwanza. This was revealed yesterday in Dar es Salaam by the Fund's Director General, Dr Ramadhan Dau when explaining the institution's future plans to members of the Parliamentary Parastatal Organizations Accounts Committees (POAC) chaired by Kigoma North MP, Zitto Kabwe. Dr Dau said NSSF has decided to pitch into energy sector in a bid to rescue the country from power problems which have now resulted into endless rationing. He said their consultant was working on the plans, after which the Fund will announce a tender for purchase of electricity plants. "We have decided to invest in power due to on-going problems. Our aim is to start producing electricity by end of the year," he said. He told the MPs that the electricity generators will be fixed in Dar es Salaam. Concerning Kiwira Dr Dau said they have decided to purchase the mine after the government failed to repay the long outstanding debt of USD 31million. He said initially the government borrowed a total of USD 7 million in 2007 to invest in Kiwira Coal Mine with a promise to repay it after six months, but it had failed in its commitment. He said the fund is ready to take the mine with all its debts and start afresh. Dr Dau said the mine will produce efficiently under the institution. He however, he told the MPs that NSSF plans to construct a huge gas pipeline, to transport the item from the southern regions. He said the current line has no capacity to increase the flow of gas to meet the growing demand. He said the pipeline will increase the gas flow for both electricity and domestic consumption, adding that it will facilitate power production at Dar es Salaam and Mkuranga in the Coast region, where they are going to fix another plant. "We expect to start implementing these gas projects in two years", he said. He also said that NSSF plans to start construction of the long awaited Kigamboni Bridge this year. He said the bridge will be constructed at the cost of USD 120 million. He said the delay was caused by lack of funds after NSSF had unsuccessfully requested for funds from Holland. He said that they were requesting a total of EURO 22 million. Meanwhile, the committee chairperson, Zitto Kabwe criticised the government for failing to repay in time, money it borrowed from public institutions. Kabwe wondered whether the government through Dar es Salaam City Council would be able to repay the funds it had taken from NSSF for construction of the ‘Machinga' Complex. He said the Complex was yet to be fully functional as petty traders dillydallied in leasing rooms due to high rental fees. "The complex is not functioning. I wonder whether you will accomplish the plan of constructing similar buildings when its president has already promised the same for petty traders in Mwanza," said Zitto. Members of Parliament have been pushing the government to allow NSSF to invest in power which includes ownership of Kiwira Coal Mine. Last December, the Minister for Energy and Minerals, William Ngeleja said Kiwira would be placed under Tanesco and Stamico, but quickly added that discussions between responsible parties would give a clear direction of the issue. THE GUARDIAN My Take: Not convinced yet. Probably I need to convince them of why their arguments are not convincing enough and why my position is better!