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Magufuli sacks power company boss after raise in electricity charges

January 2nd, 2017 2 min read

Dar es Salaam

President John Magufuli has sacked Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) Managing Director Felchesmi Mramba.

A brief State House statement said on Sunday that Dr Magufuli had appointed Dr Tito Mwinuka of the University of Dar es Salaam to hold the position in an acting capacity.

No reason was given for Mr Mramba’s removal, which was announced barely a day after Energy and Minerals Minister Sospeter Muhongo revoked the 8.5 per cent increase in power charges that was to have come into effect on Sunday.

The increased was announced on Friday by the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (Ewura).

Speaking in Bukoba on Sunday, President Magufuli commended Prof Muhongo for invalidating the new charges.


He told the congregation during New Year’s mass that increasing electricity charges at this time amounted to sabotaging the government’s efforts to industrialise the economy.

Dr Magufuli said neither he nor the Ministry of Energy and Minerals were consulted by Ewura and Tanesco before the now-annulled tariff increase was announced.

“This is unacceptable. We have resolved to create an industrial economy and supply electricity to villages and yet someone somewhere decides to unilaterally increase power charges,” he said, adding that he had promised to serve Tanzanians, the majority of whom were poor.

President Magufuli, who was visiting Kagera for the first time since the region was rocked by a powerful earthquake on September 10, said the country’s economy was on a solid footing.

He dismissed claims that the government had “hidden” money.

“What we have done is plug loopholes that enabled dishonest people to obtain money illegally. Our aim is to make sure that people get money legally.”

The mass was also attended by the Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Prof Joyce Ndalichako, and Industry, Trade and Investment minister Charles Mwijage, among other senior government officials.


Reached earlier for comment following Prof Muhongo’s decision, Ewura Director General Felix Ngamlagosi said he had nothing to say.

Mr Mramba, who was appointed in 2012, could not be immediately contacted to get his response. He is the first high-profile public official to be sacked in 2017.

Alliance for Democratic Change (ACTWazalendo) leader Zitto Kabwe criticised the Energy and Mineral ministry’s decision to revoke the tariff increase.

He said the ministry had no jurisdiction over Ewura, “which is under the Ministry of Water and Irrigation”.

Mr Kabwe added that the Electricity Act gave Ewura the sole mandate to approve power tariffs.

“The minister has no role in this. The minister can only step in in case of an emergency.

“If a minister can out of the blue overrule a regulatory authority, what is the point of having these agencies? In the past ministries also doubled as regulators, but they are now strictly policy implementers.”


Mr Kabwe said the government was supposed to reduce the impact of the new tariffs on consumers through subsidies from the Treasury instead of embarking on “populism” that could have far-reaching consequences.

In an unprecedented move, Prof Muhongo on Saturday revoked a tariff increase announced by Ewura the previous day.

He said in his letter to Ewura director general that the decision was in line with the Electricity Act, 2008.
Ewura approved an 8.5 per cent tariff increase after turning down Tanesco’s initial application for an 18.19 per cent rise.